Monday, August 13, 2007

That's cool, Al!!

It's just after 3:30 in the afternoon and we're well into our online training.

Al Tompkins just finished leading us in a very interactive (and brief) lesson/discussion concerning online video ethics. Great stuff, considering when I started working as a primarily online reporter for the Argus Leader in Sioux Falls, SD, last August, the editors there pretty much threw a digital video camera in my hands and said, "Have at it!" The concept of newspapers producing online videos was a new one, even a year ago, and the Argus was happy they could even pull it off, albeit without any kind of guidelines, save for knowing terms like "wide angle," "b-roll," and "don't zoom."

That's what I got out of Tompkins' lesson - the Argus Leader, and I'm sure most newsrooms across the country - need to establish guidelines and ethical policies specifically for the online mediums of video, audio, photo stories, etc., that we're now using on a daily basis. I mean, I've shot tons of videos where we throw music to the shots - music that wasn't in the background to begin with. Or we fade in and out. Whatever. It's up to the individual newsrooms to decide what basic journalism principles we want to apply to our new online landscapes.

--- Jonnie Taté Finn

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