Archives for category: Video

I struggle to remember how to put together a pattern search with regular expressions, so I was excited to discover Lea Verou‘s talk from May 2012, which breaks down how to construct them for JavaScript. (What she teaches can be applied to other languages as well.)

Lea is a front-end engineer who works for the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). She created RegExp Playground so you can experiment with your own regex patterns. She uses it in her talk below.

The graphics desk at The New York Times gets high praise amongst journalists and visual information specialists for their clear, clean and often creative graphics that explain and enhance news.

Among the team is the group’s resident statistician, Amanda Cox, who’s been hailed as the “queen of infographics” and has been responsible for some of the high concept pieces published by NYT.

Any time you can hear Amanda speak or learn from her, you should. At the Eyeo Festival in June, she looked at the evolution of data graphics, particularly within the history of the Times graphics department.

Want to learn more? Kevin Quealy, Amanda’s coworker, posts fantastic explanations of how she and other members of the graphics desk do some of its work. Follow along on Charts’n’Things.

Last week, Alastair Dant, lead interactive technologist at The Guardian, came to Hacks/Hackers NYC to show how his team produces its informative and award-winning interactive graphics.

It’s a wide-ranging talk about what’s new and inspiring about news technology, and how each team member’s unique skills contribute to the whole.

Well worth watching. And if you want to deeply nerd out with The Guardian, check out their Developer Blog.

The projects mentioned in Alastair’s talk:

Alastair’s team is Martin Shuttleworth, Mariana Santos, Jonathan Richards and Alex Graul.

Ira Glass broke a lot of newswriting rules when he first started the radio show that would become the wildly popular weekly series, “This American Life.”

His stories weren’t fact-supplemental fact-quote or soundbite from a source, but anecdotes told the way broadcast instructors always urge: like you were telling your friends something fascinating.

If you like the “This American Life” sound and story structure, here’s something you’ll enjoy: a four-part video interview with Ira on how to tell stories.

Earlier, I embedded the first video in the series. Then I realized that’s the one you’re most likely to watch. But the really good one, from a content maker’s perspective, is the third segment. So here it is.

Ira Glass This American Life posterFor more about Ira and his show, read:

Photo: Scott Beale/Laughing Squid/Flickr

The human side of work often gets lost in the race to be best, first and profitable.

A simple but compelling ad by Fairly Painless Advertising tells potential employees why design firm Herman Miller might be the right place for them to work.

Can the news outlet you work for say this?

Let’s say you have a really good story idea, one that would be best told through sound and visuals. How do you get it published?

Laptops in a coffee house by Mike Goldberg on Flickr

This is one of the most common questions I hear from freelancers, and one of the reasons why sites like Mediabistro and Freelance Success — both of which I used to write for — do so well.

So here’s a freebie.

During Beyond Bootcamp a few weeks ago, Meredith Birkett, MSNBC.com senior multimedia editor for special projects, shared tips for how to pitch her. Every editor will have their own preferences; use Birkett’s advice as a guide.

MSNBC.com produces about six major projects and about eight dozen smaller, assigned projects yearly. They have plenty of producers in-house, but not a lot of roving journalists. That’s where you come in.

The Pitch

  • Do preliminary reporting on your subject, then pitch the concept for the piece by email. Don’t pitch a vague idea. Go in with something concrete. The MSNBC email convention is firstname.lastname AT msnbc.com.
  • Describe the hook or the peg. Is it a national trend that your local story illuminates for everyone? Is it a quirky or wild story that someone somewhere else would care about? Is there a news peg? Is it an evergreen? Is it the kind of project that can be referred to several times within a given time frame?
  • Show the story you’ve found with photographs, audio or video. Summarize where you think the story will go and what you’ll do to round out the project.
  • Estimate how long it will take you to gather the raw assets. As a newcomer, you’re more likely to sell your story if it’s a small-scale project that takes no more than five days to get what you need. Veterans with a track record in producing multimedia stories may be able to sell projects that will take longer to gather.
  • Think about the technical restrictions imposed by where you’ll be going. How will weather affect your ability to get the story? Will there be electricity? Internet connection? Cell phone service? Mail service?
  • Send links to your work samples, or the URL of your portfolio site and be sure to describe what you were responsible for in each piece.

The Format
A multimedia story doesn’t limit you to a Soundslides presentation or Final Cut video. You could suggest a photo gallery with written captions and no audio, a flipbook, a timelapse video, or a report with an HD View photo.

If your project will span several days, you can propose a blog with photos. Be sure to describe how many posts and how many photos you plan to put up each day.

If your project shows the passage of time or dramatic change in a short period of time, a diptych or triptych could be appropriate. Freelance photographer John Wilkerson was able to sell his before and after photos of a city wiped away by Hurricane Katrina. They were used as part of a larger MSNBC.com feature on rebuilding after the storm.

If you plan to use music, it’s best to use royalty-free clips. Music you hear on the radio comes with all sorts of perils, not the least of which are rights clearances, which are time-consuming and expensive. Don’t have a favorite royalty-free music site? You could try:

The Wrap
Once you’re finished gathering content, be ready to turn over all the unedited audio, photos and video the producer you’ll be working with so that person can edit the piece. The shop will need access to your raw assets even if you’ve already packaged your project.

Get to know the producer or editor who will be shepherding your project. A good working relationship is key to the success of your story. Ask (nicely) if you can review your piece before it goes live to check that all facts are correct.

The Money and The Rights
Regardless of what outlet you pitch to, Birkett says you should insist you get paid extra to do multimedia work.

The MSNBC.com multimedia day rate varies, but Birkett says an average range is about $700-$900 a day, which includes travel expenses.

In exchange, MSNBC.com buys exclusive North American website rights for a limited time. This means you could sell a reworked version of your piece to a website outside North America to run at the same time. Or you could sell the piece to an organization that would not run it on their website. And you could resell your piece within North America after the license has expired. In other words, you could turn your pitch into the holy grail of freelancing: one gathering effort, a multitude of salable stories.

Photo: mikegoldberg/Flickr

Do you remember what it was like to be in school? About 40 journalists are reliving the college experience at the University of Miami Beyond Bootcamp multimedia workshop, directed by visual journalism guru Rich Beckman.

Over the last few months, I’ve met a number of his former students who tell stories of being cajoled and terrified of their former professor, and for good reason: The workshops are no joke: Twelve-hour days. Hands-on exercises. And in some cases, field work.

It may not be a picnic, but it is fun. For the time we’re here, we’re getting uninterrupted in-person access to an international group of highly accomplished photographers, reporters, editor-producers and thinkers. And that’s just the students.

Even if you can’t be in Miami, you can still get a taste of what it’s like to be at Bootcamp. For the next few days, you can check the ongoing tweet stream (hashtag #bootcamp).

And from noon to 2 p.m. ET Jan. 8-10, you’ll be able to watch a live stream of the lunchtime presentations below (livestream management courtesy of University of Miami journalism student Greg Linch).

  • Thursday: Paige West, Director of Interactive Projects, MSNBC.com
  • Update Friday: Panel discussion on multimedia practices and ethics.
  • Saturday: Rob Covey, SVP Content/Design, National Geographic Digital Media

As news organizations, watchdogs and voters prepare for the Super Bowl of politics, it seemed like a good idea to survey what will be online for Nov. 4.

Some sites will start their coverage early. Already, the massive, all-volunteer Twitter Vote Report has been logging and mapping voting problems and good experiences.

Most complaints so far have been about long wait times and registration confusion. To participate, send a tweet with the #votereport hashtag.

New to Twitter? Not on Twitter? There are other ways to send a report. Developer Nathan Freitas has come up with some additional ways to look through the data.

At 6 a.m. ET on Election Day, the Washington Post will begin tracking voter experiences and related national news on their Vote Monitor page. To participate and to send news tips, post a Twitter message to PostVoteMonitor.

In addition, WaPo has interactive maps, live discussions, blogging and articles peppered around its site and on their politics page. Be sure to have a look at the very cool TimeSpace map and timeline mashup.

The New York Times just announced a slew of goodies for election coverage. A very handy tool for those who want to jockey returns is the pop-up dashboard, which will include live election returns beginning at 6 p.m. ET, as well as electoral vote tallies from network news, CNN and the Associated Press.

The Grey Lady is also trying to create the largest online archive of polling place photographs taken by voters. Add your photo to the mix under a Creative Commons license on the Polling Places page.

Addicted to Flickr? Editors at Yahoo News will be culling election-related photos from the site and posting them on yahoo.com and news.yahoo.com. Put the word “election” somewhere in the title, comment or tag to be part of the search.

If you’re going to be out and about, bookmark the Online NewsHour’s mobile site. In addition to updates on the election, there’s a handy list of poll closing times and electoral votes.

NPR political analyst Ken Rudin has predicted Obama will win the race, but as we know, it ain’t over till it’s over. Want to map your own hypothetical outcome? Check out the You Predict map. The NewsHour will begin its TV broadcast at 9 p.m. ET, but you can follow developing coverage online now.

The Star-News may create the longest CoverItLive transcript ever with its Election Day live blog, which begins at 6:30 a.m. ET. The Wilmington, N.C., news organization reports record early voting returns in several counties. Thousands more are expected at the polls tomorrow.

STLToday.com, the website of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, will have their reporters and photographers out in force, documenting any polling problems that may occur. In addition, they’ll be streaming Qik video from separate Democratic and Republican election parties, blogging and posting staff and reader photos. The content will go live Tuesday afternoon. Keep tabs on the coverage at www.stltoday.com/news/politics.

On the West Coast, the popular L.A. Times blogs Top of the Ticket and L.A. Now will be posting updates throughout the day. Around 4 p.m. PT, the homepage will flip from the usual center art surrounded by story links to an electoral map that will track returns for the presidential race as well as 12 hotly contested propositions. Sometime after, the site will launch a separate section on California.

MSNBC will be revamping its homepage for elections coverage. Before then, you can embed a customizable live results widget like the one below on your site.

Photo by Hilary McHone/Flickr

The political satire site 23/6 has been watching the campaign carefully — so carefully they’ve discovered the presidential debates have a lot of repetition.

While you may have thought you recognized familiar phrases, you can’t beat the evidence shown in this side-by-side-by-side edit from the broadcasts.

Get the latest news satire and funny videos at 236.com.

The video seems to support the notion that the debates were stump speeches that revealed little original and on-the-spot thought from either candidate. It’s disturbing to think our election process amounts to an overly long opportunity to sling mud and drum slogans into our heads.

(Link crossposted on Twitter)

When it comes to video journalism, most news organizations have a rule: Do not use any sound or music that didn’t occur while you were filming the story. Audio holds powerful sway over our emotion and therefore, can distort our perception of facts and events. If you’re skeptical, check out the trailer for “Sleepless in Seattle” and this remix.

But what about when you’re not filming something on the scene? What about using video to tell a text and infographics story in a different way?

One of my favorite sources for this storytelling style is Good magazine, which I’ve subscribed to since its inception.

Have a look at the video below and see what you think. The camera motion and music draw you in, while the text and graphics give you a better grasp of how and why certain countries excel at certain Olympic sports.


Good: “Lords of the Rings” @ Yahoo! Video