I’ve been looking at a lot of newspaper-produced video this month. Judging multimedia contests has been taking up of lot of my spare time lately. On my last post, “A creativity crisis,” I waxed philosophical about how everything I was shooting was starting to look the same. I also looked at what our brothers and sisters in TV news were doing and I came to the same conclusion—we’re all in a storytelling rut. Lenslinger fired back, in his usual pithy well-versed prose, with a Feb. 28th blog post called “Yawning at the Renaissance”:
With newspapers rotting unread in our nation’s driveways, legions of print people are taking up the videocamera. But it looks like a few of them are gonna drop the damn things, if they don’t stop wringing their hands over how NOT to be like TV. Oh, I get it. Newspaper folk have long held my kind in the lowest regard. Our winking hyperbole and flashing graphics and pretty figureheads offend their sensibilities. So they openly dismiss us as clowns with spray paint and wave off even our finest efforts as graffiti that‘s beneath them. Now, however – their tune has changed slightly. No longer able to merely marginalize my craft, they’re tricking out their brightest with slimmed-down gear while boasting how their new-age toys and old school intellect will soon render the old TV News breed obsolete. So, how’s that going for ya?
Well, not too bad actually. But there is a lot of room for improvement. Lenslinger is right in that newspaper journalists have ragged on TV shooters for what seems like eons. And having big egos in this mix doesn’t help matters as both sides continue to rub salt in all those old wounds.
So let’s stop. It’s a new day and I think we should all drop the snarky talk and look for ways we can help each other out. Yes, we all know that TV news has lost its sparkle. And yes we know that many at newspapers think they invented this new fangled thing called video storytelling. So let’s move on folks. There’s nothing new to see here.
I have always looked for ways to extend the olive branch to TV journalists. Why? Because in many ways, as an online video producer, my work mirrors what TV news shooters are doing (minus the stand-ups and live shots.) We’re both storytellers and we’re all are looking for ways to be better at our craft. Wouldn’t it be great for newspaper videojournalists to reach the technical proficiency of a master TV new photog? And wouldn’t it rock if TV news shooters could ditch the standup and go back to telling community stories that weren’t weather or car accident related? Maybe it’s a pipe dream, but over time, I think we will have more in common then we see now.
Lenslinger’s post was dead on. The only miss might have been firing a salvo at the pundits for espousing the fundamentals of shooting video:
Their various sites tout video fundamentals as new truths they’ve just wrestled from the primordial news. Jump cuts, white-balancing, sequences – I never knew how misinformed I was until some dude in a sweater vest wrote six hundred words on a concept my ’tween daughter figured out ten minutes after powering up a Sony of her owny.
I guess I fit the pundit pointy-head profile. I wonder if he was referring to my 600-word tome on sequencing video?No matter. I make no apologies for trying to spread the religion of video fundamentals to a new generation of video journalist.
The one thing I see, is that most of the videos being produced for newspaper websites, including mine, need a lot more work in the fundamentals and less on the flash of presentation. If the story content and delivery is not compelling, then no amount of lipstick is gonna make a poorly produced video look alluring to a fickle audience.
So, as Lenslinger yawns at this renaissance of newbie video shooters emerging up from the muck of ink, I ask for him to be patient. Even you Lenslinger, at one time, needed to be told to keep your camera on sticks. Err, maybe not.