Tuesday, November 25, 2008, 4:30 PM

The intersection of video and newspapers

I found myself stuck in traffic on the capital beltway today, and tried to put the time to good use by listening to a podcast interview with Michael Rosenblum, an expert in the blurring lines between newspapers and video. Mr. Rosenblum teaches newspapers, journalists, and everyday citizens to shoot, edit, and upload their own video content to the web, thereby "democratizing" who delivers the news. His interview was fascinating and underscores the public's migration to web and video news content, the rise of citizen journalists, and the struggles of traditional newspapers to evolve in this new world. Any company that hopes to communicate effectively in the 21st century should carefully consider this phenomenon. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, click here.

Otherwise, here are few excerpts from Mr. Rosenblum's interview:

On the future of video news: "Everybody will be watching everything, but nobody will be watching something, if you understand the difference. I think we’re headed for a complete democratization of the medium, which is a very healthy thing.

"We live in a democratized world of print...We’ve lived in a world - we think we’ve lived in an information freedom. We’ve actually lived in the Soviet Union of video for the last seventy years; three channels, here’s the truth, we’ll tell you, you sit and...you take it. Now for the first time, millions and millions of people are going to get video cameras and begin to make content that’s going to be an explosion of content. It’s going to be very, very messy and very uncertain, but geez, that’s what a free press is all about. It’s about being messy. I think it’s a terrific thing."

On newspapers: "As newspapers rush to the Web - because they have to because they have no choice - and as technology rushes to the Web on the other side, video becomes a viable means for newspapers to tell their story. After all, the job of the newspaper is not to put out a piece of paper in black and white. It’s to go into a community, find information, process it, and deliver it back again...Newspapers have a distance to go. And I think that we can find historically that when new technologies come along, there’s almost a 20 or 30 year gap between the arrival of the technology and its application."

On television: "Television was such a narrow field because of the electromagnetic spectrum. You can only have three networks. That all you could broadcast through the air, that people like Walter Cronkite became almost overnight personalities...As we go to a Web, which has infinite number of outlets and infinite places to publish in video and now as well as in text. I think that we’re going to see the disappearance of these people."

On presidents who understood the power of video: "I think Clinton was quite good at television. Reagan was fantastic television. He was a terrific actor...In the business we call it the X Factor. You know they really know how to communicate with the camera. They understand that - I guess in talking to the lens they’re just talking to one person as opposed to making a speech. And there’s kind of a personal connection that you, the viewer, feel that he’s talking to me."

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