Low Effort, Low Quality, Low Value? – Video Columns and the Future of News

Do you really need more to make a good video column? YES! Good content! (photo Uwe Hermann CC licence)

Do you really need more to make a good video column? YES! Good content! (photo Uwe Hermann CC licence)

Mark Briggs compares the different make-up of video features by New York Times tech columnist David Pogue and Walter Mossberg’s video column for the Wall Street Journal. While the NYT version is highly polished, Mossberg’s column is rather… basic. Will the future of news be dominated by bad quality?

In order to answer this question, it is important to distinguish between the quality of the production and the quality of content. Both columnists deliver solid content. Mossberg, however, keeps his column simple and under the level of what would be considered a “good production” among journalists (mind you, good technical quality is a must both columnists fulfil of course!).

The difference between the two columns is that Mossberg’s videos are less entertaining, because there are no other actors, change of scenes other than the edited inserts. However, that makes it also more straight forward. The column does not appear “staged”.

Briggs hits it on the head when he says: “if it’s authentic, if it takes a viewer to a news event or behind the scenes of somewhere important, it works.” This ties in with the things I have said about the Susan Boyle video: authenticity drives the audience.

Mossberg has gained this authenticity throughout the years as a columnist. Although the production is low-key, the quality is not and thus the value is high for his audience. He has done what many Bloggers and other hyperlocal or other non-traditional news distributors are trying to achieve.

Authenticity will become increasingly important in a time when news production is more and more “crowdsourced”

  1. May 13th, 2009

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