News websites which do not embrace video whole-heartedly will go out of business, according to video journalism pioneer Michael Rosenblum.
Former CBS producer Rosenblum has 20 years experience training reporters to become video journalists – this has included work on the Channel One video news network in the UK and on the BBC’s ultra local TV pilot project.
Urging editors to embrace video he told the Society of Editors conference in Bristol: ‘Any idiot can do this, making TV is not hard, it’s not complicated, it’s not difficult. The technology makes it incredibly simple.”
And he said print publications ‘must have video’on their websites or else go out of business.
He said: ‘As the web goes to video there’s a sort of Gresham’s Law – more dynamic media drives out less dynamic media.
‘If you only have print or stills and your competitor has video your going to get eaten.”
He said print journalists were danger of becoming as obselete as the New England whalers of the 19th century.
He said: ‘Whales were where oil came from. They built bigger and bigger whale ships with sharper harpoons – they were the Dubai of the 19th century.
‘In 1852 oil was struck in Pennsylvania – you didn’t have to go to the Arctic to get oil. The sea captains believed they were in the whaling business so they went broke.
‘They weren’t in the whaling business they were in the oil business. They could have been the JD Rockefellers of the 20th century but they couldn’t bring themselves to do it.
‘You are not in the newspaper business…When new technology like the internet comes along you can hide from it or you can embrace it.”
He said: ‘Like the oilmen of New England you are already in the business but you have to remember the business you are in.
“You have the contacts, you have the people, you have the talent, you have years and years of journalism that bloggers don’t have. But you will not survive unless you have the courage to embrace this technology whole-heartedly and go for it all.”
Rosenblaum said that video is not only easy to make – but cheap too.
He said broadcast-quality video cameras now cost $800 (about £500), and that all journalists then need is an Apple Mac laptop and a copy of video-editing software Final Cut Pro. He said: ‘A nine-year-old can produce professional material and the cost is next to zero.”
Rosenblaum pointed that for those worried about the cost of hosting video on their websites – Amazon provides a very cheap video hosting service.
He revealed that he has used a network of video journalists working from home in the US to create a daily half-hour local news bulletin for a total editorial cost of $600,000 a year.