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At The Wall Street Journal and Elsewhere, Reporters Increasingly Give Face Time

[ 0 ] July 15, 2013 |

Reporters at the Wall Street Journal and have been asked to look camera-ready in an attempt to cash in on the best advertising rates in the digital — those paid for video views…

wsj-liveBy Neal Lavon
BBG Office of Strategy and Development

The traditional image of the newspaper reporter filing a scoop (at least as presented in early American movies) was a guy in a double-breasted suit, fedora cocked sideways on his head, breathlessly screaming into a candlestick phone: “Hello, sweetheart, get me rewrite!”

But evidence that those days are long gone was seen in a report this week on the website of the New York Observer. The Observer obtained a memorandum from the Wall Street Journal, in which the Journal reminded its reporters, “…to look camera ready and to avail themselves of the talents of their resident make-up artist.”

As the memo put it: “You want the spotlight focused on your stellar journalism – not shining off your forehead.” Reporters from the Journal often appear to discuss their stories on the company’s video site, “WSJ Live.” The Journal says WSJ Live, which is targeted primarily at tablets, also generates video output on 30 different platforms from Apple TVs to Xboxes, and received 35 million video hits in 2012.

It’s likely that similar reminders have been dispatched to newspaper reporters across the globe. With print media focusing on digital content to the point of telling its staff to always be camera-ready, worldwide broadcasters have to look over their shoulders as their digital cousins flex their muscles in the contest for larger audience share.

Crashing production costs and the availability of broadband and tablets have combined to allow print newsrooms such as the Wall Street Journal, and nimble sites like Huffington Post Live to compete in the video space. In the digital space, it’s no secret that the best advertising rates come from video views, hence all the attention.

International broadcasters helped lead the charge into cyberspace — not only repurposing traditional reports for the web but generated original content for the web in both short and long form.

However, with revenues from wholly print operations falling, and digital revenues rising, competition for eyeballs worldwide will increase and the battle may end up being fought on what the broadcasters once believed solely was their turf.

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Category: Ideas and Innovation, Think Pieces

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