Why Digital Journalists Need to Make More News Videos
The development of the World Wide Web has completely transformed the publishing landscape for news videos online.
As of August 2017, 18 news websites witnessed more than 32,000,000 unique monthly visitors. CNN topped the charts with 112,000,000 unique monthly visitors. (Source: Statista).
It is no surprise that audiences are continuing to turn to digital sources for their news.
To understand the rate at which this shift is happening, you can compare the previous two US Presidential Elections. In 2016, about two-thirds of U.S. adults (65%) said they learned about the election from digital sources. Whereas in 2012, a mere 17% of U.S. adults said that they relied on digital platforms for campaign related news.
As a journalist, you need to make a presence in your audience’s social media feed, mobile apps, podcasts and even email newsletters. But this is not enough. You also need to make sure the news presented in a way that achieves 3 things:
- Can be consumed quickly and with minimum effort
- Create a lasting impression on your audience
- Make the audience rely on you as their ultimate news source
News videos are the only media format that ticks these requirements. Off-site news videos consumption is growing faster by the day. Many publishers’ videos had 75–100 million views on social media, far more than they could ever have expected using their own websites!
Digital publishing has reduced the time it takes for journalists and newspapers to create and deliver the news.
With on-board cameras, apps and simple editing software available in abundance, the barriers to entry for content creation have lowered. At the same time, bandwidth has become cheaper with the cost of mobile data plans falling in many countries. This has enabled faster sharing of media among news production houses.
Today, eyewitnesses can pull out their phones, record news video clips, take pictures and share them on social media even before journalists make it to the scene. This is one of the reasons why crowdsource news platforms like Blasting News are gaining traction really quickly on social media.
Due to easier access to news videos via social media and other platforms, digital journalists must also focus on delivering content faster than others.
In 2016, the internet was used by 73 percent of the U.S. population as a source of news. The emergence of self-publishing platforms like Wordpress has reduced the barrier and cost of publishing to virtually nothing. This has resulted in an increase in the number of news platforms, blogs, groups and pages on social media.
Pew Research Center studied the digital footprint of websites that were “born on the web” and figured out that they received a minimum of 10 million unique visitors on average during the fourth quarter of 2015.
How do your news videos stand out from the rest?
Once again, all fingers point to news videos. Consider making videos that tend to be short (< 90 seconds), have no sound but have textual content on them, focus on soft news, and have a strong emotional element.
Check out this video made by Fusion:
Text-based videos tend to work better than any other type of videos, on social media. These videos are also faster to make with tools like Rocketium. By reducing the time you spend to make one video, you can increase the number of videos you produce in a day.
Video creation platforms also allow publishers to create custom content for each social platform, often delivering a better user experience for their audience.
You need to look for an emotional angle to drive the narrative of your video because on social media, sharing and liking means it is more likely to be picked up by the platform’s algorithm.
This raises questions about whether this trend of social videos with emotional slants may ultimately change the nature of news itself.
One crucial thing to remember is that journalism is different from running a newspaper. Today, we consume news produced by the professional, the pro-am, or the random passer-by who happens to be at the right place at the right time with a smartphone. The format, delivery and ultimately, consumption of news has always changed (and will continue to do so) with technological changes and innovations.