Newspaper Adopts Latest Online Video Tools; Surpasses TV ?

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Local TV automatically wins the online news-video war? Not so fast there bucko. The pic on the right, is a multi-media setup  that some pioneering journalists are starting to use. It’s how Newspapers will move into the space that Broadcast used to own.

Newspaper reporters: getting out from behind their desks and reporting from the field. (where the news is breaking) They are gathering and uploading news (in all forms: text, video, stills, etc.) within a very short turn-around time. Sometimes it’s live. This trend is also an early look at how Newspaper will be able to go after juicy Broadcast and Cable advertising budgets.

Taking offline content and dumping it online will not be enough. For local media, it’s a start, but it’s far from a long-term winning strategy. As the news business teeters on becoming a commodity, smart local media operators are adding more value to their core competency of news. Online video and Rosenblum evangelized mobile journalism, will be a big part of that new value.

MoJo tool kits are compact, relatively cheap, and easy to use. Some feature the Nokia N95 phone for stills, video, and mobile uploading of reports. From my perch, Newspapers and independent journalists/bloggers are eating this stuff up, while TV sees these tools as amateur and sub-par. TV’s snubbing of mobile journalism will allow Newspapers and indie bloggers to carve out a substantial position in the online video and news space. Read Cyndy Green’s take on this here.

Samples of Newspaper online video. Gannett is doing it like this. The Shelby Star is doing it with their mobile STAR CAR. The Knoxville News Sentinel like this. Here’s a list of other Newspapers doing video. Granted, for some, the quality may need a bit more polish. That will certainly come with time.

Newspapers are also exploring Online Radio. For starters, they can basically stick a microphone in front of their outspoken writers on staff. Ex: Ron James from the San Diego Union Tribune is leveraging his print staff to program SignonRadio. (He also hired well known talent, recently downsized from local Clear Channel Radio stations.)

Why so bullish on Newspaper’s online future? They have the largest collection of writers to feed the online beast. Here in my hometown, Philadelphia Media Holdings (Inquirer, Daily News, Philly.com) employs about 450 journalists. That’s more than the combined newsrooms of every TV and Radio station news staff in the city. Add audio, video and other web 2.0 skill sets to their tool belt, and you get a massive, multi-media news organization with a size-able, meaningful head start in the online news space.

Now, combine all this new technology with a large sales force with strong advertiser relationships….. and you get a real shot at building a powerful local news business for the 21st century.

Below is part of a video demo, of the “Mobile Journalist” tool kit.

2 thoughts on “Newspaper Adopts Latest Online Video Tools; Surpasses TV ?”

  1. Mel…
    I’m withdrawing from seeing this as a race to dominate the Internet and more as pioneers in a new land. Some are natural explorers while others stay with the tried and true. My frustration w/my TV bretheren’s lack of interest in web video has given way to my acceptance that maybe I’m no longer one of them but part of the new paradigm.

  2. Mel, I have to say it’s my personal hope that our 2400 suburban and community newspapers are reading what you have to say.

    Obviously you have a lot of resources, contacts and expertise in the area of newspaper evolution and I’m delighted at what you’ve shared here. I learned a lot. Newspapers CAN do this.

    I want to throw my two cents in on the quandary about newspaper sales force print and Web division – or not. Let me say first that I’m not mouthing SNA policy – just me, former classified advertising manager , sharing my own thoughts.

    When I was a writer/analyst at Classified Intelligence I did some mystery shopping for newspaper ad manager clients who wanted to see how their phone room sales reps were doing. I called, ostensbily to place a recruitment ad and talked to one print rep at a very major paper who did a thorough job of going over the print ad possibilities.

    I then mentioned advertising online – notably, she did NOT. Her answer went something like this: “oh, I don’t handle that. I can transfer you but online is really expensive.”

    OH MY. Translation: “I want the commission and I’ll undermine anybody to do it, even if it hurts my paper’s bottom line.”

    That, as you said yourself, is a concern with a two-team print/Web approach, unless the commission is carefully structured to reward rather than penalize the transferring rep.

    But then the other concern is the sales idea of striking while the iron is hot. How many times do you want to transfer someone who is eager to spend money with you? How unproductive is it?

    Many years ago I took a great conflict resolution class and perhaps the thing that stuck with me the most was a simple phrase I learned. I think this could carry over to sales as well.

    Instead of “I don’t handle that. You need to talk to so and so” you say, “The best way I can help you is..” and then something like “to get you to the expert in that area” and then do the WARM transfer.

    In other words, “Hi Online sales rep Sara, I have Joan Smith on the line who needs more expertise than I have about our great online packages. I know you’re the guru in this area. Can you help her put her Web ad together?” and then hand off.

    While I’d truly love to see one sales force trained to do all, the reality is that reps are going to have an affinity for one product or one medium and they’re probably going to do this lackluster “oh, yeah, we also have this online product. Did you want that?” or worse yet, “you didn’t want that, did you?”

    I’m wondering – because I just don’t KNOW if I’m right – that something along the lines of what we did at Topics Newspapers 10+ years ago might be effective. A group of one small daily and 15 weekly community newspapers, we did not differentiate between classified and retail in our sales setup. We had a phone room that took primarily transient private party linere ads and then we had the display reps who were inside or outside or inside/outside. I digressed a little – that’s not part of my suggestion here but it’s interesting how far ahead of our time we were with that really.

    Anyway, after reps started to get really vocal about the 2 week wait and lack of enthusiasm from graphic artists for spec ads, we created circular pod groupings of three display reps and one graphic artist. They worked together on the day to day display ad designs as well as the spec ads. it worked famously and specs got a much higher priority.

    Why not carry that over into a print /Web team organization? I don’t know how that would work out – whether it would be one Web rep to two print or vice versa or some other number. And while I think there should always be individual goals, putting a team goal in place and putting them physically together in a team layout, could resolve the cannibalization and in-fighting issues. And I bet that print reps would pick up a thing or two about Web products and Web ad sales too.

    I don’t have all the answers on this and I don’t even know that this is the right way to go. But I think it’s really worth a shot.

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