“Watching like the proverbial watchdog”. That’s what The Age will be doing during the election campaign, according to editor Andrew Jaspan in a spectacularly bad first foray into video election coverage by the broadsheet.
I don’t want to be too cruel. First attempts should be encouraged rather than slated. But this effort from the much vaunted integrated newsroom, over eight minutes long, is hardly evidence of what Jaspan says will be “hopefully entertaining and lively” election coverage.
Jaspan and senior writer Shaun Carney sit side by side. Sometimes looking at each other, sometimes remembering to grimace at the camera.
Jaspan opens with a marketing spiel, during which Carney looks desperately uncomfortable. Then Jaspan interviews Carney on his thoughts about the first day of the campaign. Carney says nothing that hasn’t been said better elsewhere, and there are few priceless quotes such as the claim that Rudd has successfully “rolled out… the image inside his head”. Now in print, that comment would have been redrafted into something sensible. Video is unforgiving.
Jaspan informs us at the end of the eight minutes, that it is just one insight into the weight of expertise and lively entertaining election coverage The Age can deliver. Problem being they looked worse than the average teenager yacking to his videocam.
When television first came along, everyone treated it like radio with pictures. It took a while to adjust to the potential of the new medium.
Likewise this effort from The Age’s newish video studio is like a broadsheet with talking heads – worthy tending to dull and evidence of the difficulties print journalists will have with moving to multimedia.
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Doubtless – we can only hope – it will get better.