This was a great exercise. To look back and analyze what you’re doing should be a requirement of every journalist, especially the educators. I invite you to do the same, it will take you just a bit of time. It’ll be worth it, believe me.
Everyday and at every moment we are exposed – either by choice or not – to visuals on television, cinema, billboards and daily life itself. We are, in our core, audiovisual beings. Most of the information we get is through our eyes and ears, hence, it is essential for communicators to learn the audiovisual language.
It is important to remember that video, in its essence, is storytelling. While using video in storytelling in print and radio media outlets is still relatively young, there is a huge tradition of storytelling with audio and images from which we will increasingly draw. The video we see in journalistic outlets will continue to develop, becoming more vivid, complex and compelling as we look to influences outside the world of journalism.
Video storytelling is imperative to the journalism of the future because we remember 25% of what we see, 50% of what he hear, but 100% of what we feel. It is the feeling that will deepen the attention span and help media organizations define themselves as industry leaders. The greatest strength of video storytelling is its ability to give a voice to our subjects so they can tell their stories. It is our role as communicators to shape those in a manner that conveys the emotion of the story and the subject to our viewers with the least amount of intervention. Our job is to channel these experiences and not insert ourselves into them.
It is not necessary that the stories we seek be exotic or in the midst of tumultuous world events. In Tolstoi’s words “paint your village and you shall paint the world”. By that, I believe that constant documentation of people in surrounding areas reflects on major topics. Reporting on common people, but doing so in a compelling matter, will cause audience to flock to see the stories.
Obviously, there is a television tradition of journalism, with a presenter, some clips, a few images. I think that we will see less and less of this type of storytelling as the media shift to a younger audience less accustomed to this type of programming, and more accustomed to seeing raw video and hearing from those involved in the conflicts and other news events. There are broadcast outlets who already are experimenting with this by removing anchors and letting the stories present themselves. I think more immediate contact and no anchors will continue to be the most common video form on the internet. I suspect there will be a shift of this sort in broadcast in the coming years. The importance of immediacy is something that needs to be imparted on students, because they are often inclined to copy the model they see on television.
Another use of video we will increasingly see is better incorporation throughout media online. There is no need to segregate material. Increased awareness and knowledge of tablets raises expectations of immediately accessible video in reports. Html5 (when it is ready) will allow for simpler integration of video in online media presentations. We need to think of the possibilities of video beyond a neatly packaged, self standing piece and think about how we can break out these elements to allow written reporting, infographics and video reporting to compliment each other. As well, motion graphics will become more ubiquitous – as infographics have in print media– as great alternatives to traditional storytelling and will be heavily integrated to the point where people won’t notice them as a different format, but will expect them as part of the media palette.
Our duty as journalism educators is to educate our students in these new forms. Then, we must allow them and encourage to innovate. In video, we must first bring them back to the essentials, using sequences and subjects to tell stories. From this point, we can encourage the students to incorporate video in the multitude of modes the interactive world permits.