Newspaper video catches up

I spent some time recently exploring what television and newspaper Web sites are doing with video and came away convinced that newspapers are catching up to TV more quickly than folks on the TV side might have anticipated. Yes, a lot of the video on newspaper sites isn’t great. Some of it’s atrocious. But it’s getting better fast.

How much better? This fall, the Detroit Free Press won a national Emmy for the video portion of its “Band of Brothers” project about Marines returning from Iraq. The feature is one of several highlighted in the latest American Journalism Review, which looks at what newspapers have learned about online video.

Some people argue that Internet video, which is shown mainly in small boxes on small monitors, can get by with fewer pixels and a less polished appearance than TV visuals. Some think a less smooth quality actually looks more “real” online. “It’s overstatement to say the rougher the better,” says the Tampa Tribune’s Janet Coats, “but there is a certain veracity if you haven’t spent so much time making it refined.”

That may infuriate some photojournalists, but it makes a certain amount of sense. Continue reading