While Jill Drew addresses many aspects of, and despairs over, the state of online video journalism (“See It Now,” CJR, September/October), she and CJR may have overlooked the real challenges in recent years to the quality of video journalism produced by local television stations and the broadcast / cable networks.
The growing appetite for instant information on the web has driven down viewership for television news. The state of the economy and the desire to cut costs have led many news managers, especially at the local level, to require reporters to shoot and edit their own news video as well as write and voice the stories they cover. An enormous number of TV news photographers have lost their jobs as a result. While smaller cameras and simpler software make the job somewhat easier for local VJs (Video Journalists) or MMJs (Multimedia Journalists) working alone, the impact of and the adjustment to the loss of the TV news photographers in the industry is significantly changing the content of local news, as well as the quality of video storytelling. Drew’s subhed—“Video journalism is dying. Long live video journalism”—also applies to the upheavals on the broadcast side.
However, quality newsvideo can be found on broadcast and cable-TV websites. While many may be “repurposed for the Web,” there are stories of value, interest, and high quality being produced everyday for the digital age. This is, in part, because a significant number of those TV photographers whose jobs were threatened and were always true believers in video storytelling saw their world changing and became MMJs themselves. Broadcast TV photographers are helping to build the foundation of online video news worth watching.
News photographer, KVAL-TV
In a piece about Russia Today in our September/October issue, we misidentified Sophie Shevardnadze as the daughter of Georgia’s second president. She is his granddaughter. We also wrote that RT had “aired” ads that conflated Barack Obama with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The ads were posted on billboards, not broadcast. And in our September/October Lower Case, we misspelled Corvallis in Corvallis Gazette-Times. We regret the errors.