Exeter paper beats TV with online video

The Express & Echo in Exeter has beaten tonight's television news to a major regional story by publishing a video report on its website.

Using only a £190 camcorder and consumer software, the paper rushed an exclusive story onto the web which revealed that Devon County Council's preferred bidder for Exeter Airport was a consortium of London City Airport and Balfour Beattie.

The council's decision had been revealed to the paper by a source ahead of the formal announcement.

Express & Echo editor Marc Astley said: "We were ready to run that story tomorrow, but we got wind today that ITV had actually found out that information as well and were planning to run it in their bulletin this evening.

"We broke the story on the web this afternoon, but with TV having the story, we decided to play them at their own game and put up a video report."

The video clip features local government reporter, Ben Norman, reading the news in the paper's newsroom. Another reporter stood behind the camera holding up a printed script for Norman to read.

The paper's makeshift video journalism operation is set to become more sophisticated, however. Several Express & Echo have completed PA Training's online video course and the paper has ordered professional equipment.

Earlier this year, the paper conducted its first experiments with online video journalism by following up a Channel 4 Dispatches report about two Exeter single mothers with a series of mini-documentaries on the web.

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