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Cutting the costs of ITV regional news. Perhaps more accessible?

itv calendar newsI’m very interested to see how the professional media world is merging with consumer level media. Calendar News, part of the ITV news network, is using online tools that are accessible to everyone.

 

The ITV online news channel is basically a blog populated by videos hosted not by ITV but using Vimeo. Vimeo is a free video orientated social media channel a bit like Youtube.

I’m not sure what this does for the brand image of ITV as a big player, but it may be seen as a means of making the service feel more accessible and “ordinary”. I don’t have a problem with this especially if the journalism stands out as being excellent. ITV‘s great strength in Yorkshire is its approachability in my view.

The great news is that for any aspiring journalists, you can create a news website which follows this model and uses these very tools. The next step, I imagine, is to encourage the participation of citizen journalists in ITV’s news coverage – a step we began to take when my team established ITV Local Yorkshire a few years back but proved too expensive at the time.

Another interesting aspect is that if you have a Vimeo account you can get statistics about how many people have viewed the videos and for how long – introducing a daring competitive element.

Calendar News website

Calendar News Vimeo channel

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How should large media organisations handle their blogs?

Twenty years ago that headline might have been misunderstood! 

Interesting article in the Guardian about the use of blogs by large companies.  It challenged me to think about how badly this blog is put together.  

Shouldn't be random bursts of information from here or there but be focused around a specific and simple idea.  Blog readers are looking for insiders who's expertese can't be found anrywhere else.  Readers want a named writer who they can trust. They are looking for an angle.

First person accounts – casual, intimate stories
Named and trusted writer
Insiders view
A concept
An angle

The thing missed out of the article is around the accessibility of the writer to respond to comments and clarify any misunderstandings. Company blogs are perhaps seen as marketing tools rather than a means of honing the grasp of the issues.  Comments without clarification carry risks – so how far are companies prepared to engage with the discussion that ensues?

Read the article here

 

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Clearly recorded audio to improve school blog experience

You may have heard me mention that audio is a vital ingredient in video production.  I've lost count of the number of video conversations with sound that you can barely hear. Here's a solution.

The ability to use an external microphone to record sound is essential – a clip on microphone for interviews or a directional microphone on a lead.  But it's astonishing that an external microphone connection is a rare feature. There are hardly any video camera with this facility.

In the schools work I have been doing, video interviewing practice is proving very popular. Interviewing hones the children's listening and questioning skills and also provides good content for the school web sites and blogs.  Clear recorded audio makes it a lot more rewarding.  Flip cameras are very limited.

Thanks to Phil Marshall of KPMS  I now know that the Canon M31 Camcorder does have an external mic socket and is available for around £600. It's costly, I know.

12646-legriahfm31blackbsllcd

The other two issue to go with camerawork are, wobbly shots and flat batteries.  The batteries supplied usually last no time at all. A big long life battery will enable you able to shoot for hours  and maybe work after a few days in the bag.

Canon BP-819 High Capacity Battery Pack

Along the camera and battery I'd recommend spending  £30 or £40 on a simple video tripod and a cheap lapel microphone on a lead.  I'd resist spending lots on the microphone without trying ones that cost only a few pounds.  Amazon have a few.

It may seem like a lot of money to spend but with the increasing popularity of school blogs with embedded video, the clarity of the spoken words will be important.    Good speaking, good listening, good impression.