Adam Westbrook // ideas on digital storytelling and publishing

A snapshot of the new media debate

Posted in Broadcasting and Media by Adam Westbrook on March 18, 2009

It was a busy day. Lots of last minute editing to do for my radio station’s week of reports on Iraq and content to put online; then bits to send to sister radio stations in Leeds and Teeside; not to mention a huge amount of local news moving including some important court cases and inquest verdicts….

In short, probably not the time to engage in a debate about the future of journalism.

After a couple of good articles in the Media Guardian it was on my mind; and sitting across from fellow new-media-ist @mattgame (here’s his website) it was inevitable.

I said: I love doing online journalism and multimedia – but how do we make money out of it?

Matt said: No-one will ever pay for online content – not when it’s free everywhere else

I said: so how will we make any money as video journalists online?

Matt said: once newspapers ditch print and we all have Kindles, they’ll have audio, video and text – in short you’ll be a VJ for a big newspaper, and people will watch your films on the underground.

I said: but what about in the meantime?

…we both shrug our shoulders.

I then tweeted the summary – and caught the attention of @jonshuler (here’s his website) and the following debate occured in 140 characters or lessa snapshot of the new media debate raging across the world


Three young media types trying to figure out the future of their profession. That’s the new media debate – join in!

update: Check out this video from they interviewed online video producer Zadi Diaz at SXSW. Her advice for getting through the tough times: team up with other producers and see if you can come up with  a good way to make it work financially. You have to think outside the box. When online money dries up Zadi switches to consulting/advising others to keep herself going.

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Footnotes for new journalism

Posted in Journalism by Adam Westbrook on March 15, 2009

A couple of good bits on the  future of journalism have popped up in the last week-mostly through discussions at the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Texas.

First up, check out  a good summary of  a talk by David Dunkley-Gyimah of at the SXTXState blog.  It gives a very good overview of video journalism as a practice, including:

  • how it was pioneered in the mid 90s in the UK and US, with hope it was the way forward, but died out  when “we realized that TV is not dead.”
  • but how the internet has given VJing a new life with the rise of online video
  • assertion that the form is driven by a ‘visual narrative’ with pictures telling the story, as with traditional broadcast news
  • but David points out current VJing follows the old conventions and just sticks them on the web
  • instead, it needs to discover its own style, which he says is more cinematic: “When it comes to the net, there is no code yet as I believe that is set in stone….we’ve all been taking TV’s language and applying that and it hasn’t quite worked. Video journalism needs a more cinematic- hightened visual base.”

Secondly Michael Rosenblum’s puts up a very fluent argument on how to run a financially sound newsroom – by not actually having a newsroom.

  • he’s setting up a second cable VJ news network-but won’t be renting a newsroom
  • all his VJs work from home or in the field on laptops
  • that saves a huge amount of money and makes the operation more likely to make a profit
  • some executives rubbish the idea saying ‘you can’t run a news operation without a newsroom’
  • but he says “‘Facebook now has 170 million members. It seems to function quite well as a nexus of information, both text and increasingly video. It gets information, processes it and distributes it. It has a net value of $15 billion last time I looked. They don’t.”