Sunday, November 9, 2008

Emily Sweeney's presentation

Good presentation by Boston Globe reporter Emily Sweeney in class Wednesday on video reporting, a subject that is becoming more and more familiar with every week. Emily was both informative and entertaining, and she had plenty of points to make on what it is like to make videos regularly for a major newspaper consistently.

One of the ones I liked the most was her point that length and complexity are not always the key to a good video. Often, video reporting or video blogging seems intimidating, because it creates fears of having to basically put a documentary together for every story. As Emily said, that's not the case. She pointed out that newspapers encourage their reporters to assemble short clips, videos that are to the point and not a physical burden to put together. And of course, they can be fun. Her Bingo film was a great example. She films herself and her interview subjects, and splices b-roll and music in between. The result is a video that serves as a great compliment to her article, and one that you don't need to be Quentin Tarantino to make.

Speaking of telling stories, Emily also spoke about how videos can not only compliment a story, but be a story as well. She demonstrated this in a video on tractor pulling, using the footage of driving tractors (one of which was driven by her), interviews with people and subtitles to express the story. There is no article with it, and there's no need for one. It shows the value of video in reporting, which was the point of her presentation to the class on Wednesday.

Finally, Emily expressed that, while it is hard to doubt the importance of video to journalism now, writing is still at the heart of the craft. Her story on Simply 2 Impress Auto Club shows the union of journalism with video well. She has the story, an in-depth portrayal of the auto club, and the video at the bottom does not try to tell the story, but provide another dimension to it. Emily said that being web-savvy went from being a recommendation to a requirement, and this is why. Journalists aim to present the story from all angles, a goal made even more possible with video at your disposal.

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