Newspapers and magazines have long understood the power of the relationship of text and photographs, one complementing the other to make the storytelling more powerful.
It looks as if the trick with video on the web will be to achieve the same sort of relationship. That means examining the grammar of television to find new ways of using video when it is closely related to writing.
Recently there has been a growing discussion about the use of video in online news as the Times and the Mirror, among others, rush to increase their video content.
Much of it is, as Kevin Anderson rightly describes it, is TV shovelware. Not only does this translate poorly online but “adopting television production methods cedes the competitive economic advantage that newspapers now have over television.”
This is part of a round-up of the debate by Anderson, blogs editor of the Guardian. He points to a a piece which appeared in Media Guardian by BBC business reporter Paul Mason, which argues that 24-hour rolling TV news is under threat.
He examined the short time spent watching by the relatively small audiences of Sky News and BBC News 24. He wrote:
But rolling news is no longer the future. In 2004 the average broadband household spent 16 hours a week online. As anyone who uses any half-decent news platform on the web understands, the internet is faster, delivers instant depth and unrivaled interactivity. Rolling news – and here I mean the concept of a separate channel and its traditional front-end studio format – is the genre of television least suited to survive the transition to the digital age.
How best tradional print media can use video is going to need a lot of innovative thought and experimentation. It makes the question “How shall we tell this story?” yet more interesting.