Make convergence part of all your editorial workflows

BAM premiers new film on Alexander Shuglin…The “father of ecstasy” is still a serious scientist hard at work in his home lab despite failing health.

Making the transition from print or simple broadcast to fully convergent, multimedia journalism is not easy and does involve a range of labour and other costs. But I am constantly amazed at how media organisations – from big well resourced mainstream orgs to new and innovative blogs – ignore simple steps because they haven’t come up with a convergent workflow checklist for their stories, which would enable them to quickly add multimedia reader value.

For example, given that many companies now post their film trailers on YouTube there is no reason not to include an embedded trailer with every film review. This is even more important when you are reviewing festival and independent films which may not get wide mainstream release. Cinematical is a great site that covers film culture from mainstream Hollywood to independent arthouse releases. They are a blog product of the new media age, yet even these new comers have failed to take simple – more or less cost free/time free – steps to integrate multimedia clips into their site which is about MOVING PICTURES!

I clicked on this fascinating review this morning of a new documentary about Alexander Shuglin the mavrick chemist behind the development of ecstasy. It’s just premiered at the New York’s BAMcinemaFEST and is unlikely to get to Australia anytime soon, so I immediately went to YouTube to see if the trailer or any excerpts had been posted. Sure enough the production company behind the film had posted the trailer a week ago, so Cinematical could have legally and quickly embedded the trailer in their review. This would have given me instant access to a taste of the film and would have kept me on the Cinematical site and encouraged me to explore it further.

All this requires is a different mindset and a new easy step in the final editorial workflow…. Byline. Check. Picture caption. Check. Embedded YouTube trailer. Check. etc. It certainly requires more than adding an embedded film trailer to a review to complete the move to a fully convergent media experience but unless media organisations begin to integrate these first, easy, cost free steps they will never be able to make the bigger moves.

So let me give you a taste of the film:

The final edition in Denver

Saying goodbye

The Rocky Mountain News, has become a regular example in my lectures to young journalists because of their commitment to great story telling, creative multimedia approaches and pulitizer prize winning features. Unfortunately they are about to become an example of a completely different kind: of the difficulties of sustaining a profitable model of journalism in the current economic environment. Today they closed their doors after their proprietors failed in their one month bid to sell the paper. As usual they say goodye with a stylish piece of multimedia. Hopefully their website will stay operational.


Final Edition from Matthew Roberts on Vimeo.

Katie Couric to blog? and Fairfax to digicast?

USA Today’s Peter Johnson reports that Katie Couric’s new contract with CBS includes a commitment to a “daily, regular presence”. Current NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams already contributes a regular blog to NBC’s site and the ABC co-anchors do a fifteen minute daily webcast.

But exactly what form that’ll take has yet to be worked out, he says. “I don’t think she has decided exactly how she’s going to do it or what she’s going to do other than have a keen interest in figuring how we can use new media to extend our reach and make sure people who may not be seeing The Evening News get a chance to see the work she is doing in a new form and in a new way.”

This is something new for Couric, who has blogged selectively on various Today projects, such as this year’s Winter Olympics, but has never has a daily Web presence.

The Web “is something that Katie’s really interested in, and so are we,” Hartman says. “She shares an everyperson sensibility, which is: She loves what the Internet represents and loves the possibilities, whether it’s as a journalist, parent, or consumer. But she doesn’t claim to know the ins and outs or be a techie.”

With the deadline for submissions on Australia’s new crossmedia ownership rules looming SMH reports:

John Fairfax Holdings chief executive David Kirk said earlier this month the newspaper company would be interested in the new digital spectrum, which could allow companies to offer pay TV and mobile video services or provide content for specialist channels.

But Mr Kirk warned the Government not to set restrictive rules for the new services. He also said there should not be any “backdoor regulation of video services and content on broadband”.

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