Morganne Mallon
Penn State University
morgannemallon@gmail.com
@MorganneMallon

Incorporating video into the newsroom is becoming increasingly essential in the digital age.

Danny Gawlowski, the photo and video editor of The Seattle Times, and Danese Kenon, the deputy director of photography for video/multimedia at the Tampa Bay Times, stressed the importance of video in the “Video Numbers and Mobile Must-Haves” session.

“Video production is larger than a few dedicated staffers,” Gawlowski said. “It’s newsroom-wide.”

Gawlowski explained the numerous reasons why utilizing video more important than ever. Video advertising pays at a higher rate than banner ads, and audiences are watching an increased amount of video content. He said videos make a greater social media impact and that a wider audience sees video content because it is shareable.

And perhaps most importantly, video creates a much stronger emotional connection for a story’s subjects.

“This is how we can do our journalistic mission,” Gawlowski said. “We’re getting our audience to plug in and care about these issues we care about.”

Gawlowski and Kenon offered plenty of tips to an eager audience of managers and editors looking to get their staffs thinking more about video. Here’s some of their advice:

 

Spend more time on enterprise video

The Seattle Times produces 78 percent of daily video, which is produced and published as quickly as possible due to the content being time-sensitive, Gawlowski said. The remaining 22 percent of video is enterprise, which takes a much longer time and effort to produce.

However, 82 percent of video traffic goes to enterprise, which is why The Seattle Times focuses these types of video on stories that are unique, engaging and not time-sensitive.

 

Assess and reorganize

At least one staff member has to have video in their job description, Kenon said. This person, or small group, of video-focused staffers needs to assess what they have, what their budget is and what the staff is capable of doing.

Managers also need to assess what equipment or new technology they are able to purchase for their newsroom, and how many reporters they can give it to.

 

Coffee chats are key

Kenon highly recommended that editors and managers have coffee chats with all of their staff members at least once a year. When Kenon meets with her staff, she focuses the conversation on learning what they can do, what they’re working on, what project they’re passionate about and what she can do to help them be the best they can be.

 

Newsrooms need the right equipment

Having the equipment to support video and photo is important and worth the cost, Kenon said.

She encouraged not only videographers and photographers to approach their managers when they don’t have a piece of equipment they need, but also managers to use moments like the coffee chats to ask what their staff needs.

Kenon encouraged managers in the audience to look into purchasing USB adapters, Eye-Fi cards and microphones capable of plugging into iPhones. She also recommended the mobile efficiency app, Teripix, which allows reporters to take pictures, upload them to their smartphones, add a caption and then upload the photos to the news organization’s website, all within minutes.

 

Managers need to keep up with their staff

Investing in training a staff on videography and the newest technology is not enough, Kenon said. Managers need to be able to be able to contribute content to newsroom as well, not only so they can set an example to reporters, but also should they be thrown into a situation where they have to report breaking news themselves.

“Are you, as a manager, staying up on the latest and the greatest?” Kenon asked her audience. “You’re feeding your staff, but are you feeding yourself?”

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