And Then There Were Three (Good Web News Videos)
Web News and TV news are not the same, although good online video reporting shares many features with TV news. Interactivity, simplicity, timeliness can be combined with low budget technology and limited personel to create compelling web video content. I have selected three examples – once again related to the US-Mexican border – to show these traits of web video.
The first is an NBC news story on a Texas farmer in lack of harvesting labor from Mexico. It is a stand-alone piece without the need for moderation by an anchor, since the reporter is part of the story. This makes the video useful and understandable on the web even out of context. It shows a nice mix of wide-angle, medium sized and several close-up shots.
Frome the paper side of video, here is an NYT Video of Chiapas by the Frugal Traveler in Mexico. It is part of a larger story and is nicely embedded into it. the piece shows journalist as single-operator. He is involved in the clip, the technical means are minimal and the outcome is great. Incorporation of snapshots, change of tempo makes the video interesting.
The CBS story “Children of Illegal Immigrants” could easily be a transplant from the regular news (and probably is). It is clearly professional and done by more than one reporter. However, the online version provides the ability to comment on the video and has actually spurred a lengthy discussion on deportation of illegal Mexican immigrants. The video has thus become a prompt for interactive audience engagement that might even lead to a follow-up portraying a different side of the story.
Web Video is not only defined by the technical means and standards of production, but also by its integration into the web, user-friendly presentation and interactive possibilities.