Web video journalism vs. TV video journalism

First of all, whether we realize it or now, we’ve all become very familiar with the cliches of television journalism. That’s NOT what we’re doing online.

See, TV journalism is made to be watched on a TV, and that means:

  • The audience is passive.
  • It is shown on relatively large screens.
  • The segments are designed around commercial breaks.
  • It’s linear – there is a beginning, middle, and end.
  • Viewers often recognize the anchors and the reporters.
  • Viewers often have the TV on in the background while they do other things.

But people don’t watch online videos on TVs. They watch them on their desktop, laptop, tablet, and phone. And they watch and interact with the videos in different ways.

So, how might web video journalism be different?

Here are some ideas to start…

Information might be the same, but the presentation is key to whether or not it will be watched and shared.
See same story by a local on-camera local reporter (2011) and ESPN’s website (2011). Note they are same length.

Authenticity and audience are key. 
—Check out this web documentary series about Texas high school football
—Check out Black Gold Boom, a great interactive video about North Dakota’s oil boom.

Rely less on voice-overs and stand-ups.
See Beat poet uses ballpoint pens, not drum machines, NewsWorks (2011)

Even “small” stories that would otherwise never make it to TV can be interesting if presented properly
See this short Vice video about the last Blockbuster in the United States

Cellphones will be there before the satellite truck and TV crew.
See Osama is Dead! Parade at Rowan University (2011)

Not confined by the TV schedule and commercial breaks. It can be short (like this six second highlight of a surfing contestor long (like this 8:33 video by student journalists about the Gulf Coast oil spill.)

It can be interactive and non-linear.
See Aftermath, UNC Chapel Hill (2017)

When everyone is a content creator, know what makes your video stand out.
Often, it’s the people. Here’s a cool video about a comic book shop owner in New York. And here’s another about a unique photo artist. And yet another about a man setting out to hold the World Record for breaking the most World Records.

It can be more experimental and creative. You can help define what online video journalism becomes.
See Words, Radiolab and NPR (2010)

About Nick DiUlio

My name is Nick DiUlio, a freelance writer and editor from New Jersey. I have been passionate about the craft of writing since I was old enough to spell, and this love has led to a successful career in journalism and creative nonfiction. As a freelancer, I have covered a wide range of topics and personalities, as my published work has focused on everything from profiles of artists and important political figures to hard-news stories with both national and local appeal; from restaurant and beverage reviews to tips on fashion and finance; from health and wellness pieces to celebrity Q&A’s. My work has appeared in several local, regional and national publications—both in print and online—including Philadelphia Magazine, Slate.com, Miller-McCune, New Jersey Monthly, Eating Well, and Delaware Today. Additionally, I am the South Jersey Bureau Chief for New Jersey Monthly and an adjunct journalism professor at Rowan University. To be sure, the broadness of my body of work seems only to be matched by my boundless interest in almost every subject imaginable (except Warren Zevon). Check out some of my most recently published work here.
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11 Responses to Web video journalism vs. TV video journalism

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