Just five years ago, in a world that now seems completely absurd, sports journalists would huddle at the back of football stadiums dictating their reports into mobile phones the size of bananas.
They’d generally ring four times during the course of a match – twice during the game, once at half time and once at full time. At the other end of the line would be a Saturday girl frantically typing the words from the journalist’s mouth, adding her own stamp with an unfathomable amount of spelling mistakes and typos.
The reports would appear in special pink newspapers that would be on the shelves within an hour or so – but even that impressive turnaround was not fast enough to keep pace with the internet. Eventually admitting defeat to the WWW, one by one newspapers killed their “football specials” and, to the best of my knowledge, all of the “Pinks” are now consigned to the history books.
In the last five years technology, and with it journalism, has moved at a frightening pace. Newspapers, television and radio must compete with the changing ways people consume news online through social media and blogs. Everyone is a roving reporter, publishing details of everything from road crashes to protests within seconds. Recently a photo emerged of a very modern safety sign in an office block which reads: In case of fire, please leave building before posting about it on social media.
But perhaps the biggest worry for the media agencies is the rampant rise of video.
The most forward-thinking of the traditional newspapers invested heavily in video technology a long time ago – but few could have foreseen how fast things would progress. Long gone are the days of bulky, expensive cameras with unreliable cassettes. The smartphone of 2014 means that almost everyone over 13 has a powerful piece of kit at their side 24 hours a day which is capable of creating incredible, thought-provoking and maybe even history changing journalism. In fact broadcaster Al Jazeera has embraced the technology by making an entire documentary using a smartphone and experts say it’s just a matter of time until the first fully-fledged movie is made on an iPhone.
In amongst the 100 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute (80 per cent of which is estimated to be cats playing musical instruments) are the journalistic gems. The first footage of the crashed Ukrainian airline was captured on a mobile phone. Videos of flood damage across Britain last winter were sent to the masses at a touch of a button. Footage of the Lee Rigby murder appeared online first.
Short of having a reporter stood at every street corner, it is nigh-on impossible for a news agency to be first to obtain footage of any incident, whether it’s major or minor. The challenge is now for them to find new ways to make their videos stand out above the amateur offering. It’s become common practice for professional news outlets to use the citizen-created footage as part of their coverage, top and tailed with the insight and analysis that remains the domain of the professional.
It’s a challenge which is being taken seriously. The multimedia arms of news agencies are expanding and video and social media skills are playing an increasingly important role in journalism training courses.
Businesses, too, must harness the power of video. Every company now should have its own YouTube channel at the very least to engage with customers on a new and captivating platform. Just plan ahead, be clear in what you’re trying to portray to viewers and promotion widely.
And if you need to stand out from the crowd with a professional, affordable video, look no further than Connect PR. ConnectonCamera is our in-house video news service, available from just £500 for one day shoot and edit. We cover hundreds of miles every week making videos that sparkle. Statistics show that 17% of people spend less than four seconds on a website, but they are willing to spend 2.7 minutes watching a view online.
To find out more, email email@example.com.
Written by Sean Wozencroft – firstname.lastname@example.org @seanwozencroft1