Online journalism documentary – and why video blogging is ‘a good thing’

PBS have been doing a TV series called “News War: What’s Happening to the News”, which is a comprehensive history of journalism in the US. Of interest to us OJ types, however, are parts 19 and 20, ‘The New Universe of Online  Media’, and ‘The Revolution’s New Synergies’ which are available to watch on this page.

‘The New Universe of New Media’ features interviews with the team behind online TV news service Rocketboom, the founder of massively successful blog the Daily Kos, and Jeff Jarvis, as well as stuff about important events like the Trent Lott story (kept alive by bloggers) and Rathergate (a documentary’s veracity being questioned by bloggers).

‘The Revolution’s New Synergies’ is about how mainstream media have incorporated new media forms like blogs, and taken up leads through new media.

Bill Cammack gives a more thorough overview of the series, and the accusations that blogs lack original material, from a videoblogging perspective:

“With video blogs, I think [the lack of original reporting] is much less true. Granted, there are video blogs that are really videotaped versions of text blogs. Instead of typing the information they got from search engines, people sit in front of a video camera or webcam and talk about it. Not much difference from text blogs there in terms of lack of originality. ANYONE could do it who chooses to use a search engine to look up their chosen topic. What I’m talking about is the ability to show someone, anyone… somewhere, ANYWHERE (that has a viable internet connecton) something that they otherwise would not have been able to see. I don’t see any way that anyone could deny that visual and audio documentation of something that happened can be AS relevant and important, if not MORE SO than a shot, produced, scripted and edited news piece, such as the Frontline piece I’m currently commenting on.”

In other words, the very fact that you are filming video – assuming it is not of you talking – means you are creating original content. This is probably the most persuasive argument I’ve heard for bloggers taking up their video cameras and audio recorders – it (hopefully) forces you to leave the desk, and find material. Of course, it will not be searchable, and it will be harder for someone to scan. So it had better be good.

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