Friday, November 7, 2008

Emily Sweeney's Visit

On Wednesday, Boston Globe Staff Reporter Emily Sweeney visited my Reinventing the News class where she talked to students about the changing media landscape and showed us examples of her work that illustrate the direction in which the newspaper industry is going.

That trend involves reporters multitasking by supplementing their stories with things like slide shows or videos on a newspaper's website.

Sweeney discussed the fact that when she first got to the Globe and wanted to make videos, there wasn't even space designated for such a medium on the newspaper's website. Now, the Globe employs staffers who work only with video, many reporters carry Flip video cameras, and the company recently spent thousands of dollars on video equipment.

In addition to this, Sweeney also commented that many reporters are now using Facebook as a way to get leads for stories, and Google Maps serve as unique interactive supplements to stories on the Globe's website.

From a video standpoint, Sweeney's videos tend to be very entertaining, yet they still manage to inform the viewer. Here are three examples from her personal website:

This is a video Sweeney produced about a former body builder who in the peak of his career was hit by a car. Though the car took his ability to walk, it did not take away his will to lift weights.

Next, Emily produced this video to inform out-of-towners on some of the finer points of Boston's unique slang.

Finally, Sweeney put this video together so viewers could get a unique view of what it's like in a bingo hall, in addition to informing them that these halls are becoming a thing of the past.

As I mentioned, all three of these videos are informative and entertaining at the same time, and as a student, I'm fully aware of the fact that it is hard to combine those two adjectives in many instances.

While the content of the video is great, I feel like these videos uphold a trend I've noticed in the new world of journalism. That trend is that in video projects, the quality always seems to be sub par. The picture quality of these videos is suspect, and, in the case of the body builder piece, sound becomes an issue. While I realize these aren't professionally produced videos, I can only hope that this new era of journalism doesn't mean we have to redefine our standards of quality.

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