Thurman, Lupton discuss online videos’ effects on journalism

Online videos are rapidly changing the face of journalism, Neil Thurman and Ben Lupton of London’s City University said as they presented their paper at the ninth annual International Symposium on Online Journalism.

Thurman and Lupton’s paper, Convergence Calls: Multimedia Storytelling at British News Websites, covered how embedded videos are affecting the online journalism world.

The crisis is that Web sites like YouTube and Google Video have more than 50 percent of the UK’s online video market, Thurman said.

After intensive research and interviewing UK’s top online editors from Sky News, BBC, the Sun and the Telegraph, Thurman and Lupton discovered how video stories compare to the newspapers and print stories.

The editor of the explained that ads spent on television are larger than print, which leads to the question: Can the newspapers compete in this rich media world with videos?

Lupton said they can.

They emphasized that videos must complement news stories, because users are put off by content they don’t value when videos are duplicated.

Newspapers have the opportunity to use YouTube to see what works for them and what doesn’t. In this new age of media, journalists need to learn how and when to integrate videos, as well as prioritize and edit, they said.

Thurman and Lupton presented a visual that shows most users see the top of the page and the amount of users decreases significantly as they scroll down.

Another issue they revealed was what videos are more popular than others. UK’s Mirror, a tabloid and daily newspaper, says quirky and celebrity stories receive the most hits from online users. A short clip of a man crashing a million-dollar vintage Ferrari is an example of these types of soft-news videos.

Convergence would mean less-processed stories, Thurman said. Media outlets hope to change consumption habits and technology could help by giving the people what they want.

The video player isn’t dead yet. Even though YouTube is popular for its short clips, companies like BBC have their own players. BBC’s iPlayer provides longer form videos and gets 1.3 million unique users a week.

Convergence is heavily criticized because it means newsrooms cover fewer stories and the use of third party providers like Reuters impedes the role of the journalist.

Thurman and Lupton said that many UK media branches discovered that relying on American media can be problematic. So they focus on local outlets.

The duo concluded their presentation discussing the integration of news rooms and the importance of seeing how news stories play across all channels. They quoted Rupert Murdoch saying, “The media is content crucial; news is becoming increasingly commoditized.”

ISOJ 2008: Managing the Production of Online Journalism, from Knight Center on Vimeo.