Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Contenders for the first Dolly's© for the Worst Newspaper Video

Perhaps I should revive my tongue-in-cheek suggestion for the Dolly Awards . Paul Bradshaw has identified some serious contenders for the Worst Newspaper Video category from amongst the offerings of the UK regional press. In the process, his posting reiterates some points I've been making in discussions with traditional newsrooms who including online video amongst their offerings:

  • Online video is NOT television. Online is to television what television is to film, what film is to theatre, what theatre is to books... In all cases direct imitation is typically NOT flattering. Online news video is a new genre and it will take some time to establish best practice.
  • Training (sufficient and on-going) isn't a nice-to-have, it's essential. Sending out poorly trained staff into the online world is not only potentially embarrassing and demoralising for the ridiculed journalist, it is probably bad for business. It's like trying to sell a bad newspaper through novel promotions: all you're doing is getting more people aware of the poor quality of your offering. After the promotion, they're unlikely to be back.
  • Novelty isn't a substitute for quality. Once the novelty of simply having video online wears off, those who are want to compete will need to distinguish themselves in the (highly competitive) online space by exhibiting exceptional creativity and craft. And that, as in any field of endeavour, takes investment.
In the meantime, Paul offers some nifty suggestions:

Rule #1: if you’re aiming to imitate broadcast television, make sure you’ve watched it since the ’80s.

Rule #2: if you use a cloth for a background, make sure you iron it.

Rule #3: tempted to use those fancy transition effects on your video editing software? Don’t.

Rule #4: if you’re going to do ‘green screen’ make sure the green covers the whole background.

Rule #5: don’t start talking to your mate while the camera is still filming.

Rule #6: speak clearly, slow down.

Rule #7: film at a time or place when people are not coming in and out of a door and mumbling to each other out-of-shot

Rule #8: do more than one take.

Hill Hunt added two more:

9. Try being interesting or at least (unintentionally) funny.

10. If you can’t, at least tell us something new - not a list of the bleeding obvious.

Further suggestions - and nominees for the Dolly's© - now being accepted.