Remember that time when I spent two hours out of every day, five days a week, writing, shooting, and editing a daily newspaper webcast?
It stunk. It was no fun, a waste of time, and a poor way to engage online readers with video.
No one — and I mean no one — wants to watch you read from a script for two minutes. It’s a good start, and adding photos is the next step on the way to adding actual news video to the bit, but what you really need to do is leave the newsroom.
That’s right, get out. And take the camera with you. And do some reporting instead of reading.
Coincidence: Two people asked me about daily newspaper webcasts in the last hour, and I told them both the same thing. Then I spotted yesterday’s Ledger Live, from NJ.com.
At about 2:40 into this one, which is good and fun, and has personality and life to it, even if there’s some desk-sitting involved in the process, Brian Donohue takes a typical crackpot reader comment about immigration and does the fricking reporting.
Check it out. When I worked in California, we had some regulars, the crackpot immigration people who would leave some racist comments and blame every single problem in town on the Mexican community. And more or less, we found is better to not engage them. Just don’t look.
But, of course, the right thing to do is to debunk their claims, or at the very least, depending on your opinions about objectivity, demonstrate how complex the problem can be.
So, Brian took the crackpot question and the camera and went out to find some answers.
And the result is a great piece of journalism.
I hope my friends in Newark are posting some of the individual stories coming out of this webcast and archiving them in some sort of SEO-friendly way, because this is great evergreen content. I want to see this piece on immigration and housing show up every single time those two keywords show up in a story on their site. That’s the long-term value of a great Local Explainer.
Watch the webcast, and if your newsroom reads the headlines into the camera and/or fields crackpot reader questions on a regular basis, think about the opportunity you have to get away from your desk and shoot some answers.
via John Hassell