News will always remain a major driver for broadcasting, so it was appropriate that the emerging technologies forum included a presentation from a journalist. Glenn Zorpette talked about his experiences and his ideas for the future.
He started by saying that the rapid and sweeping changes affecting journalism are all driven by technology. The web is a big source of change, because it has conditioned audiences to expect the same five things: video, podcasts, blogs, articles and slide shows. That is a problem for in-depth publications like expert journals (Zorpette is now the editor of IEEE Spectrum) which publishes 2500 word papers. They do not work online.
His suggestion is that you use video as the honeypot which gets people on to the site. Getting them onto the site, and keeping them there for a few minutes, is what advertisers need.
But if you have to include video, what kind of video do readers want? He joked that people just wants videos of cats. But even on a hardcore technology publication like IEEE Spectrum, the most popular clip is of a GPS connected cat, earning hundreds of thousands of hits.
80% of the video they use is provided for them by researchers, or by their PR people. This simple reposting gets traffic to the website. Other content comes from Skype interviews and shoots using low cost cameras, as well as more professionally produced videos. It depends on the nature of the content: sometimes you need to get the video online immediately, he claimed.
He suggested that low cost cameras are good enough. Backpack 4G connectivity, such as the LiveU system, can replace the satellite uplink truck.
Zorpette’s view is that we are all aggregators now. Writers blog and tweet then expand them into bigger pieces, and lift content from other writers’ blogs and tweets. Is this good for journalism? It is hard to tell, he said.