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Journalist Sues Police For Barring Drone Videography Of Crash Scene

Any desperate local news reporter who’s ever been denied access to a crime or accident scene can relate to the motivation behind the attempted work-around one Connecticut TV photographer, Pedro Rivera, used to circumvent the road block while at the scene of a fatal crash: an overhead drone to grab some video.

Yes, drones. As in unmanned flying crafts more likely to evoke images of the Middle East than the East Coast. But you can buy small drones capable of capturing a video online for about $1,000, which is cheaper than a pro DSLR or even many lenses. That’s much more affordable than a helicopter to hover over news scenes, which is why the idea is actually kind of genius. Except, maybe not…

dronejournalism_featuredimgSo why haven’t more other enterprising journalists thought of this yet? Probably because the FAA says it’s not legal. They say commerical use of the video from these drones is not allowed, but apparently are reviewing things, per the Hartford Courant story on Rivera’s case. (They also note that Rivera wasn’t actually on the job at the scene, and the station he works for didn’t air the video, so it may not even have been a commercial use.)

Rivera, according to the Courant, has filed a federal lawsuit against the local police for blocking his drone usage at the accident scene earlier this month. He claims they violated his civil rights when they stopped him. (H/T Romenesko) Read more

Journalists Reading Mean Reader Comments (Video)

It’s been done by celebrities, but any journalist who’s ever been published online knows cruel commentary from the masses isn’t reserved for the famous.

sharetheloveValentine-webkindThe Indianapolis Star newspaper wants to change the tenor of conversation, and recorded several of its journalists this week reading some of the comments users have left on their articles, columns and editorial cartoons. They’re using the mean things people say as a tool to encourage readers near and far to #ShareTheLove this year with a social media campaign to accompany the video.

Among their requests for visitors to #ShareTheLove?

Diffuse one unkind person today. Go to the comments on any story on IndyStar.com, or on social media — or anywhere online — and give someone a compliment. Tell them you love their hair in their profile photo. Or that you wish they have a wonderful day. Or, simply, tell them to #ShareTheLove. Celebrate the love while diffusing the hate.

To be honest, a lot of those comments were tame compared to what I’ve seen on their site and read about my own work. But they’re still mean. From “It’s going to cost the Star some subscribers AND Facebook followers” to “I know a really good stylist and photographer if you’re interested in upgrading your professional image,” it’s clear they were meant to be mean and succeeded. My favorite of the readers, who range from online editors to news columnists to the Publisher, was columnist Leslie Bailey — who previously wrote about the mean things people say — when she read the two-word comment that sort of sums up most of the comments on the Web: “You’re Dumb.”

If nothing else, I’m glad to see these professionals taking the “criticism” that’s anything but constructive or critical thinking in stride. Keep on keeping on, and oh yeah, share the love!

Added Features for Vourno, the News Centric Crowdfunding Platform

vournologo1This past spring, I wrote about Vourno, a crowdfunding platform for the news. This week, they’ve added an “upload a video” feature in an effort to “promote immediate growth and content to [their] network and opens up [the] site to journalists around the globe seeking another distribution platform to showcase their work.”

Of course, you’ve always been able to upload a video onto Vourno, but it had to be through their “create a story” feature. Now journalists can link to a Vimeo or YouTube account or upload an actual video file, put it up for the public to fund or watch, and gain exposure.

In an effort to boost participation, Vourno offered $50 on the launch date, November 5th, to any journalist who uploaded a video. Co-founder Joe Verdirame couldn’t elaborate on the number of users who uploaded videos just yet, but told me via email that the promo has “set them in a positive direction.”

Since their US launch, Vourno has launched in Canada, and the U.K. and is planning on opening up shop in Australia, Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, The Netherlands and Spain in the coming year.

Have you used the site yet? Have a news video you want to upload?

Introducing Columbia Visuals, A Viz Journalist’s New Best Friend

columbiaIf a picture is worth a thousand words, then a blog covering all aspects of photography is pretty much priceless.

At least that’s what the Digital Media department at Columbia Journalism School is aiming for with its new project, Columbia Visuals. This new blog is meant to give advice for all visual journalists an online home. Basically anything that affects your career as a photographer or videographer — everything from copyright information and inspiration for great storytelling to practical tips on how to cover high-stress events like protests, for example — is fair game for Columbia Visuals.

Yesterday I spoke with Abbey Adkison, the Digital Media Coordinator at the NYC-based, storied journalism school (where she is also an assistant adjunct professor) about the blog, which just had its official launch Sept. 16.

Read more

Dispatch From Italy: Citizen Journalism and YouReporter Making Waves

imageDid you know that in Italy, to be a practicing journalist, you take exams and get certified? That’s what my Roman friend, a senior digital editor at one of the country’s largest publishing groups told me over lunch this week during my Italian holiday. It’s like being a lawyer, or an architect. And while the practice of certifying journos still stands, even over here where traditions are hard to break, the industry has been disrupted.

Italy is still a country in which practicing independent journalism is a political, and not just entrepreneurial, act. And still, YouReporter.it, a crowd sourced, video sharing news platform is widely used. Launched in 2008, the site has expanded with an app for both Android and iOS, and a text based news blog. Lots of “mainstream” news publishing organizations use videos or photos from the site, and all they have to do is use the logo and attribute the view to YouReporter.

When co-founder Angelo Cimarosti and his colleagues, Luca Bauccio and Stefano De Nicolo, started thinking about the site in 2006, bandwidth in Italy was weak, and hard to find. Smartphones had yet to saturate the market. So they started with a focus on photos, in addition to video. In fact, Cimarosti told me over the phone that when the earthquake in l’Aquilia hit in 2008, hundreds of photos were uploaded to the site; had it been just video based, YouReporter would have never gotten off the ground.

“You can start small,” Cimarosti told me over the phone. (All translations are mine)

“The success of YouReporter is about the small things, especially in a country like Italy, made up of small towns. People already have an outlet for the big news events — an earthquake, a cruise ship crash, even a big snow storm. What YouReporter users share and want to know about are the small things — suspended trash pick-up, the traffic sign on the corner that needs to be replaced.” Read more

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