Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Roanoke reporter video

I recently spoke at a University of Florida seminar and it is posted on Mindy McAdams' blog at:

I’d like to point out that I may have given a wrong impression in describing Roanoke’s videos.

I characterized their video efforts as low end, mixed with photographers’ high-end video.

Rather than using point-and-shoot cameras as I said, they are using decent mini-dv cameras in their newsroom and have brought in outside training for their reporters to make sure their quality stays high. The video I showed during the presentation was not typical of their report.

I was trying to differentiate between Roanoke.com’s deliberately not-like-TV approach to video and the TV-on-the-net approach of their sister company, HamptonRoads.tv. I was trying to point out the very different approaches taken by different papers in the U.S., and made it sound like Roanoke doesn’t do quality work. Nothing could be further from the truth. (In my defense, I was trying to avoid mentioning that paper in California that I usually pick on…. )

I did not highlight some of the great and sophisticated reporter’s work (such as http://www.roanoke.com/multimedia/video/wb/120830 (High School graduate takes big steps))that they’re doing in Roanoke on a regular basis, so I left the impression that they’re only doing low-end. They aren’t. Roanoke is doing incredible work in multimedia. Their day-in and day-out multimedia coverage of Virginia Tech athletics is a model for our industry and is something I regularly point to as the way it should be done.

If this sounds like I’m sucking up to Seth Gitner and his work at Roanoke, you’re right. He’s doing things right there and I wronged him when I shouldn’t have. In this era of ever-tightening budgets and reduced resources, Roanoke still manages to produce quality work on a daily basis.

My apologies.
Chuck Fadely


Daniel Sato said...

Do you have to use mini dv's and HD cams to be high-end? I really enjoyed Dai Sugano's latest video diary on E3 and I believe part 2 (day 3 now that the two clips have been combined) is all from a point and shoot.

As a student I am always told that it is the photographer that matters and not the gear. Isn't this the case for video as well?

Chuck Fadely said...

No, you don't need good gear to make good videos, anymore than you need good gear to make good photographs. But it sure makes life easier.

You do need expensive and lengthy training and the willingness to commit staff time to producing good video.

The incremental cost of decent gear when you've invested so much time and human resources in video is negligible.

Unfortunately, in the newspaper world, cheap gear is usually a reflection of the amount of time and training a company is willing to invest.

multimediajournalism said...

thanks chuck

-- please keep up the good work of telling great stories online in video.