G20: multimedia experiments
Protests are always a magnet for the media. Scuffles make great pictures for TV, chants make great sound for radio; the mass of people suggesting some great social movement.
Why should multimedia be any different?
It was no surprise all the big news organisations were employing blogs, twitter, online audio and video for today’s G20 protests. They’ve used them on news stories several times over the past few months.
What I think makes today different is this is the first time newsrooms have had significant warning of a news event, to flex their multimedia muscle and see what it’s capable of.
They had time to think ideas, get creative and explore. So, how’d they do? Here are some UK media examples:
Immediately popular was BBC News’ interactive map which appeared mid morning.
The movable image covered central London, and as reports from the ground were filed, they appeared on the map.
The stories were multimedia; everything from text, audio, video and images.
The Guardian were out in force at the protests, with journalists employing all sorts of technology to help them in their quest.
So excited were Guardian journalists by this new technology it seemed they were happy to upload all and every interview they conducted, including the one pictured, with Rory O’Driscoll.
“Sorry, were you expecting some a little more, err, involved?” he told the reporter, clearly not at all bothered about what was going on.
Someone (on Twitter in fact) commented, on seeing this image, that there must have been more journalists on the streets than protestors.
What these provide though, were unfiltered, immediate dispatches from the scene.
Stuck in an office, those of us in Web 1.0 world were forced to watch Dermot Murgnahan and the rest of the Sky News reporters stumble their way through the protest.
“Oh look, a policeman’s fallen over” was just one remark, along with a car-crash interview with Russell Brand, the comedian who’d clearly taken the wrong turning on his way out to get some milk.
These Guardian dispatches though – raw, mispelt, abbreviated into 140 characters, gave you the very latest – and of course they’ve not been through an editor.
The BBC had a similar live update system with similar benefits.
This one though included chosen comments from viewers/listeners as well as BBC correspondents (and in some cases media students) on the ground. It looked good, and continued until 2100…but I’d wager cost a lot more than any other news organisation would manage.
So lots going on, and it felt – for once – there was more to be seen online than on TV. Has this set a precedent? I hope so. Throughout today, no-one was tweeting/blogging about the G20 coverage they heard on the radio or seen on TV. They were sharing links to sites like the above ones.
The key benefits: immediacy, raw information, and interactivity.
But for that, do I feel the coverage of the protests was any better than the old media? Hmmm, that’s not so clear cut.