By Benét J. Wilson, chair, National Association of Black Journalists’ Digital Journalism Task Force & Online Managing Editor-Business Aviation, Aviation Week
Whenever I hear the term video in the newsroom, a picture forms in my mind of me, a broadcast journalism senior at American University (Go AU!), swimming in Sony Betamax video tape (just Google “Betamax,” kids). I was always causing the Betamax video editing deck to chew up tapes, causing my professors to think I was cursed.
That, along with a bad internship at a local D.C. television (among other things), was enough to make me abandon my plans to be a video producer/editor and run to print journalism back in 1985. I was happy knowing the worst thing that could happen to me as a print journalist was a leaky ink pen.
Fast forward to 2006, when the digital world — including video — hit me right in the face. But it was OK. Growing up all over the world as an Air Force brat made me nimble and quickly able to adapt to any and all new situations.
So I embraced the digital world with gusto. I started one of Aviation Week’s first blogs (the dearly departed Towers and Tarmacs). I harkened back to my days at AU’s campus radio station, WAMU-AM, and learned how to edit and produce podcasts. I bought my own still camera, shot and posted more than 7,000 aviation/airline photos on my Flickr account, many of which have graced the pages of Aviation Week magazine and AviationWeek.com. I oversee three AvWeek Twitter accounts (@AviationWeek, @AvWeekBenet and @AvWeekTweets) and am one of three administrators of the Aviation Week Facebook fan page. I’m always trying out the latest tools and toys on my iPhone.
But when it comes to video, I hit the brick wall. My company uses it on our website, but usually only in conjunction with major events, like the Paris Air Show or the first delivery of the Boeing 787. We have two portable video studios, and we were offered video training, but most of us aren’t doing it.
It comes down to two questions: one, is there enough demand — by viewers and sponsors/advertisers — to justify the expense of creating and posting videos; and two, is there enough time in the day for our editors to learn how to shoot video and use Final Cut Pro to produce packages that are good enough to go up on the web?
I have taken video workshops at many NABJ conventions and spent a week down at the Poynter Institute for a really great week-long video storytelling program. But video still confounds me, and I think we’re still trying to figure out its role on our website. We’ll see what the future brings.