Monthly Archives: March 2007

Online Video/interactivity expert interview

Poynter Online has an interview with “Online Video expert” Travis Foxhis work also demonstrates a keen understanding of interactivity and Flash too, with panoramas and maps, and is well worth exploring. He’s certainly on my Heroes of Online Journalism list.

Herald-Tribune shows the way for Flash and database journalism

I’m still scooping my jaw from the floor after looking at the Herald-Tribune’s Flash interactive on how complaints about teachers are handled. Not only does this use Flash cleverly – particularly to illustrate the complex process through which complaints go (now try doing that in print), along with audio clips – but it’s integrated with a database so you can search by district and school, keyword, or even map, a great example of database-driven journalism. From Journalistopia:

“It took the Herald-Tribune 14 months and repeated threats of legal action to obtain the database under Florida’s public records law.

“Even then, some information turned out to be so inaccurate that the Herald-Tribune decided to create its own version, reviewing 30,000 pages of administrative documents to build a database […]”


3D cricket coverage?

Here’s a conundrum thrown up by new media: if you broadcast a 3D replication of a cricket game, are you infringing the broadcaster who bought the television rights?

That’s what’s happening with Cricinfo. New Media Age reports that its 3D cricket coverage “could undermine Sky’s rights” (subscription required):

“Cricinfo … has developed an application that ties 3D animation to the site’s ball-by-ball updates. The technology tracks over 20 differentials in each ball that’s delivered and broadcasts a 3D version directly after every bowl.

“Experts have claimed that the move could infringe copyrights and the technological developments could lead to a new set of rights covering 3D animation being introduced.”

And what if you’re watching in Second Life..?

Steve Smith: Mobile Video – Didn’t We Do This Already?

Steve Smith, writing about mobile video in general (registration required), makes a very informed point about the attempts to ‘crack’ the medium, with some historical anecdotes. Here’s his summary:

“Much of the technical and aesthetic experimentation in mobile entertainment may already have taken place in a Webisodic format that never took hold on the medium for which it was intended. To go back to history, a lot of time and money gets spent trying to squeeze the last medium’s successful formats into successes on the new medium. But it is just as likely that we should look to the failures of the previous medium when planning the next.”

What he’s talking about is this:

“Back in the day of TheDen, TheSpot, PseudoTV or even the early AtomFilms, for that matter, the fledgling Internet was all about birthing a new art form. “Webisodic” fiction, online reality shows and soap operas, the renaissance of the short subject, and the new venue for animators — all this and more were promised by the new Web.”

BBC, UGC and online video

Some insights into the workings of the BBC, UGC and online video from Shane Richmond’s latest post:

“At a time when most newspapers, including this one, are trying to encourage user participation and comments on their sites, the BBC is questioning the need to host those conversations.

“Instead they’re linking their content out to the likes of YouTube, Flickr, Technorati and Encourage the conversation but let it happen elsewhere.

“The burden of moderation is simply too great. Like us, the BBC moderates comments received from readers, mostly for legal reasons, but as Tom pointed out: “What we call moderation, readers call censorship.”

“The more successful you are at attracting reader responses, he explained, the bigger the problem gets.”


“One week in November last year, the BBC news site published around 500 pieces of video.

“Analysing the traffic for those clips later, they found that just 30 of them accounted for about half the traffic. They have learned some lessons about what type of video clips work online but mostly they learned to focus on doing less better.”

Student experiments with audio

The other week I gave students a brief overview of principles of recording audio for the web. One of these was ’emotive audio’, so in order that students had something to edit in the second part of the class, I gave students 20 minutes to ask a stranger a question designed to elicit an emotive response, such as “What was your most embarrassing moment?” (recorded by Anna Jones) or “Can you describe the last dream you had?” (Sarah Gee,  and also Shemaine Rose). Some wimped out of the emotive questions, including Hannah Watson, who instead asked “What is your favourite animal/vegetable?” – dull replies, but she gets credit for asking one respondent to make a lion noise – and the other to make a sweetcorn noise…

Online audio – good practice

A good example of audio being published online as part of journalistic transparency comes from The Guardian‘s Peter Mandelson-criticises-Blair piece:

“The Guardian believes it reported his remarks about the prime minister accurately and fairly. But in order to give readers the opportunity to judge the issue for themselves, we have published the relevant, lengthy section of the interview.”

Publishers grapple with web video – or rather, selling ads on web video

Jemima Kiss reports on the Association of Online Publishers web video forum, with a focus on advertising:

“ROO Group executive director Robin Smyth had some pretty solid basic tips on incorporating video: add mini players within the site, embedded video in the site (that means not having a pop-up media player, like the iPlayer…), having a simple content management system, good marketing, a user content element and focusing on live events.”

Ian Reeves vlogs on ITV, video awards, Telegraph

Ian Reeves’ second vlog builds on the quality of the first, inevitably moving from the general to the specific, with a fantastic dry sense of humour that makes it all very entertaining. His USP is his ability to capture online video and showcase it – this week it’s the Telegraph’s Business Report (boring but sells advertising), ITV’s surprisingly good online local TV offering, and the US web video awards (but is Being A Black Man video, or flash interactivity that happens to have video embedded?).

Congratulations Ian, your vlog is one of the few pieces of online video I thoroughly enjoy watching.