Means or end?

This post is an answer to this month’s Carnival of Journalism.

Video is not and end in and of itself. Video is a means to an end, that end is telling a story.

This has always been true, it’s just never been as easy as it is today to implement that truth. Today’s newsroom, whether it’s in a local TV station, radio station, local newspaper  or local online news site needs to tell stories with all the tools at its disposal. The story is the only complete entity.

Beyond just in theory we are also starting to see the notion that video is only a part of a greater presentation in code and web standards. HTML5 helps video integrate far more seamlessly into a rich media website. HTML5 is an implementation of the thesis of this post, that video is simply a means to an end, at least when it comes to the story telling behind the news.

In practice that means that some types of media will have to produce more video and some will have to produce more of everything else. In the case of online news sites more video is likely necessary to tell a community’s stories.

The difficulty is that small local and hyper-local sites still don’t have the capacity for video and can more efficiently cover their communities without it. The Sacramento Press has gotten by for some time without a significant amount of video. However that has started to change. As the barriers to entry for video lower in terms of both technology and process, video becomes more of an option for those publishers with a smaller budget (both in terms of money and time).

In order to continue to increase both the quality and quantity of video we need to build tools that imagine all types of media as one piece of the storytelling puzzle. By doing so we will significantly diminish the barriers to entry for the creation of video and that has the potential to better inform and engage our various communities.

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