“Instant” Video and the Deprofessionalisation of Journalism

Whether you are covering the revolution(s) in Egypt as a blogger from downtown Cairo or recording a sports event in your local area for posting on the news portal or a TV news channel: We are fast approaching a point of “instant” and ubiquitous video recording – but, crucially, also publication on sites like YouTube or Vimeo and just about everywhere else. So after some discussion about this aspect of our craft and trade with colleagues this week, I have been playing around with hardware and software options to do some easy video journalism today. The most attractive app so far is on iOS7, not on Android, from what I can see

It’s called YouTube Capture and is obviously tailored to publish on YouTube (you can post to multiple channels), but also allows posting to Facebook, Google+ and Twitter – unfortunately not directly to WordPress or Vimeo though. There is some basic editing and an easy way of shooting multiple scenes before editing and publishing them. When used with a tablet like the full-size iPad or similar size device (really any tablet / phablet between 7 and 10 inches, upwards of a pound of weight), you have a really mobile but still hefty and workable toolkit at your disposal that can shoot, edit, post-produce and upload video in broadcast quality from pretty much anywhere in the world within minutes. The “Capture”-App, for instance, lets you trim single takes, but also stitch these together into one longer video clip and add soundtracks, too. Here is a pretty good video (on YouTube) reviewing the app:

I am wondering what other apps are used by video-journalists and bloggers out there. Other popular video apps like Vine strike me as not being very suitable, though it has to be said that the sheer functionality of what smartphones and tablets offer blows everything out of the water that I used to work with doing reports for traditional TV and radio.

Most of all, I am reminded of something else however: The clincher is not which app you are using or which hardware you have at your disposal. It is the story that you want to tell; content is still king in the digital age, and the means to find, produce, curate and share information and stories are secondary. Needless to say, the materiality of the media production and consumption changes how we read, watch, listen and interact with journalistic content. And the ease of production challenges quality journalism in particular. It is a lot easier to share something now – but do you know if it is solidly researched, fact-checked, balanced or at least up to date on the facts?

Video-Journalism: Citizens of Cairo capture Day 17 of the Revolution CC-Image by Darla Hueske
Video-Journalism: Citizens of Cairo capture Day 17 of the Revolution CC-Image by Darla Hueske