26 March 2012
Everywhere Internet users turn they are confronted by video clips. A photo used to be worth a thousand words. Now videos tied Internet viewers up. The success of the KONY 2012, a story which had been reported several years by the New Yorker and others, demonstrates nobody ever went broke understimating people.
The sequel, in which video author Jason Russell ran naked down the streets of San Diego, now that was an original clip. Many editors consider a story a failure if it doesn’t have a video clip. Many writers will throw any video clip they find on a story to shut their editors up.
I recently encountered a story that included such a video, and two or three lines of copy.
It drew a comment saying “why don’t you tell us more. I don’t have time to watch your video.” And when you do watch the video’s they are like poorly constructed Legos. Instead of action the voices are heard reading aloud the same things that could have been written.
It may take three minutes to get to the point.
People are in a hurry. Don’t make them wait for news at eleven. Certainly, in many cases, videos can be essential. When show a plane crashing, for example. But if all they are is a bad imitation of a TV anchor reading a story it might be better to pass on the video. Pictures can be worth a thousand words. Who has time for a thousand words?