A recent article on Digiday caught our eye. It detailed the dread from many journalists about the great pivot to online video and that the value of writers is no longer prioritized. Bryan Curtis who is the editor at large for The Ringer calls the move “humiliating” in that writers were being replaced by TV anchors.
It seems in this move to video, a question is being forgotten… why can't a publisher have both great written content and engaging video?
Video isn’t going anywhere. It’s growth as a digital advertising vehicle alone enough to justify its widespread implementation. But when you consider the human factor it becomes even more of a no-brainer. Video engages the brain 60,000 times more than text. And considering that the human attention span is now shorter than a goldfish, to keep a user on page, publishers need to have engaging, exciting and article related video right off the bat.
But what happens when you have them there? That’s where stellar writing comes into play. The goldfish study also mentions how our ability to multi-task has increased dramatically over the years, meaning that the more value you provide the reader, the better. Video is a piece to the puzzle but great writing is what really rounds out a user experience.
And the best part is that thanks to distributors like STN, journalists don’t to have suddenly become experts in video. We found that nobody knows the local team like the beat writer and that’s what keeps people coming back to the page. And, when that great writing is combined with official highlights of the team/player/event in the article, you end up with a user experience that rivals the national sports sites.
Resources are already thin for many publishers meaning staff are being asked to do more with less. But that doesn’t have to be the case as exciting video and great writing are not mutually exclusive. Instead of thinking you can only have one or the other, publishers should look at third party video providers to deliver an engaging rich media experience all with the simple copy/paste of an embed code. This delivers not only relevant and high-quality video but gives journalists the time to focus on what they do best.
Quality video will get people to stay on your page, but in the end it’s the writing that your publication will be known for.
VP, Corporate Communications
E-mail: david.davies at sendtonews dot com