The Washington Post has started to produce a daily minute-long video compiling latest news headlines, that it posts on its homepage on weekdays at noon. Called '59 Seconds,' the segments include coverage of "politics, policies, sports, personalities in Washington and more," the paper says on its website.
The video show is presented by Ylan Mui, a staff writer at Wash Post who writes about consumers at the economy, and the segment is a mix of Mui speaking directly to the camera from the paper's newsroom, and a mashup of videos and photos. Currently, the videos begin with a 15-second pre-roll ad from Conoco Phillips, the launch sponsor.
"Our goal is to give readers a snapshot of news that reflects Post coverage in a way that's easy to digest and available at the same time everyday," said Andrew Pergam, director of video for The Post. "This is the first of more video products in the pipeline focused on reaching people in ways that are unique to The Post and the region."
The Washington Post already offers a video section of its website featuring the latest videos from WaPo journalists.
The Post's new headline video segment echoes, in a shorter form, the daily programmes that the Wall Street Journal produces. The WSJ has a World News Bulletin which it puts out every morning, as well as an abundance of 28-minute shows.
How to make best use of video is a significant challenge for newspapers. Most do not have sufficient resources, both human and technical, to produce video that can compete with TV stations in terms of polished production quality, and therefore, they probably shouldn't try. "Thank God we've moved away from the time when you think you can just put television online," said David Hayward, head of the journalism programme at the BBC College of Journalism, at a news:rewired conference in London last month.
Several papers have responded to the apparently pressing need to include video on their websites by equipping all on-the-ground reporters with video-capable phones or mini video cameras. Video shot with a phone-camera can work if the journalist happens to catch a crucial moment that nobody else does, but generally it is hard to make such video sufficiently compelling to watch.
So what sort of online video should newspapers produce? Probably something between the two extremes: not as polished or complex as a TV show but more professional than shaky camera-phone footage. The message from panelists at the news:rewired conference was the importance of knowing your audience, and of producing something that was different and complementary to TV news.
Source: Washington Post