Multimedia II: Video



“If you’re not totally enchanted by audio, you’ve got video,” said Brent McDonald, a video journalist for The New York Times. The video unit has been one of the fastest-growing sections of the newspaper since its initiation two years ago, as Web video gets more popular every day.

Video stories are handled very much like print stories. The difference is, you have to think visually all the time in terms of details and description. Video stories capture natural sound, images and surroundings that readers can’t necessarily get in writing.

The New York Times uses video to showcase particular parts of a story. Video provides an opportunity to expand on an issue or an idea. It’s also a very effective way to draw people into a story.

After you get a camera, a tripod and some lights if you need them, here are some tips to consider:

  • Not every story is a video story. For a good video story, you first need to get access, and to make sure your sources want to be on camera and can be articulate.
  • In an interview, the subject should be shot at an angle, not looking into the camera. Leave some headroom and some free space around the frame in case the subject moves, to prevent the subject from slipping out of frame.
  • Sound is crucial. A story with excellent images and fair sound is not likely to make it to the Web.
  • When shooting, hold each shot for at least 10 seconds and get as many close shots as possible.

Almost every newspaper throughout the country is hiring video journalists, and reporters without video experience are getting trained. If you know these skills before applying for a job, you’re already a step ahead. So if you can, take your camera and tripod, and hit the streets of Tucson to get those video clips ready.

— Marlene Peralta



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