Lesson at a Glance
One Big Takeaway: Journalist and digital strategist Julián Gallo is all in on the Stories format for news publishers. He says “Stories forces us to think like filmmakers, take dimension of how to organize stories and materials temporarily, and edit in real time. It turns us all — individuals and media — into documentarists.
2 Steps to Take Now:
- Not every video needs to be a fully produced, long-form experience. Experiment with the different formats your video can take, like going live with journalists, voicing over compelling images, and filming single-shot story recaps.
- Nothing is finished and everything can be perfected. Publish video and then update it with images, quotes, and footage as your story progresses.
How to Get Started With Video
Julián Gallo is a well-known Argentine journalist and digital strategist with experience ranging from Mauricio Macri’s presidential campaign to La Nación and mendozapost.com. He presented at the Digital Video Accelerator, a 6-week, 6-class pilot program in Buenos Aires, Argentina for 25 news publishers on developing a digital video strategy.
Gallo’s presentation walked through three basic ideas:
- Gallo talked about how there are two types of video: Hot and cold. Hot video provides produced, immersive storytelling. Cold video provides a more casual, engaging experience. Try to create both types.
- Broaden how video is defined at your publication. Adopt the mindset that “everything that moves is video.”
- Build a prototype-heavy culture. Think of video as an ever-evolving creation, rather than waiting forever for one final, perfect cut.
Over the next several weeks, we’ll be sharing other lessons from these in-person sessions here.
1. Cool vs Hot Media – McLuhan Said It in the 60s
Marshall McLuhan’s study of media theory led to his Cool Vs. Hot Media theory in the 60s. It’s especially relevant today, with video publishing across a variety of forums on TV, digital platforms, mobile, and social networks. Your publication should adopt both types, Gallo says.
What is Hot Media?
Hot media is high definition and rich in sensory data. The information is fully contained within the piece, and so the piece doesn’t need participation from the audience.
Examples of Hot Media include written press or radio. Hot video is typically more traditional video like cinema or TV shows.
Because this media type is a one-way street, the content needs to be enveloping to retain the audience through its completion.
What is Cold Media?
Cold media is lower in definition and require audience participation. The information isn’t necessarily fully contained within the piece — audience members must engage and participate.
Examples of Cold Media include the telephone or a call-in radio show. Cold video can often be found more often online via mobile and social networks — in a Facebook Live that takes audience questions or talks to talking head experts
Because this media type relies on audience participation, the content doesn’t need to be as enveloping to retain the audience through its completion. Instead, it should call directly for the audience to interact with the content.
2. Broaden Your Definition of Video
Video is anything that moves, Gallo says. It’s anything that is more expressive and memorable than text.
With an increasingly digital-first news industry, Gallo said, the content publishers create needs to catch up. Text-first news aligned with newspapers. Now, video opens the door for news publishers to convey information to their readers.
He stressed that publishers shouldn’t create a restrictive definition of video. Instead, Gallo said, be flexible in two things:
- The mediums on which your video can publish. Video can publish on your website, your social networks, on microsites, Facebook Show Pages, and journalists’ pages.
- The formats your video can take. Your videos can be long-form, documentary style, quick to capture breaking news, live with journalists, voiced over a presentation or animations… the list goes on.
Here’s more from Gallo on sharing news beyond text-based articles — and via video — is important for news publishers.
“In early 2000, there was a harsh resistance to vertical video. However, the numbers prove that people use the phone in this way most of the time. Imagine the Stories as a locomotive and a train of events, which is basically a visual chronicle using the bases of classic narrative and literary genres. IG Stories forces us to think like filmmakers, take dimension of how to organize stories and materials temporarily, and edit in real time. It turns us all — individuals and media — into documentarists.” — Julián Gallo
Build a Prototype Culture
“Nothing is finished and everything can be perfected,” said Gallo.
To get started on digital video, just… get started. You can build, polish, edit, and adapt as you go. Gallo recommended a few ways to approach video creation from a “quick to publish, quick to adapt” mindset.
- Work with the information you have around you. Every video doesn’t have to require original reporting or creation. For example, think on your biggest news story. Can the journalist recap the story in a 60-second video? Or, for example, look at the media you include in your text articles: Can you use these maps, charts, and images to create a short video telling the same story?
- Embrace the story. Unfold information to your audience the way it unfolded in reality. This makes for more straightforward shooting and much quicker editing times.
- Gather testimonials to use in video. Conduct an interview via video chat, for example, to use later on.
- Use visually attractive transitions that don’t need post-production. Here is what Gallo called “an unforgettable tutorial.”
- Incorporate music when you can. It beefs up the polish and branding, without requiring a lot of time.
- Don’t be afraid of vertical video from your phone if you’re posting a video directly to social. This is especially powerful when journalists are reporting on-the-go via video.
The Video Accelerator Program
The Facebook Journalism Project’s Video Accelerator Program helps news publishers create excellent video and build sustainable business models that work. Funded and organized by the Facebook Journalism Project (FJP) in collaboration with the International Center for Journalists, each Accelerator includes hands-on workshops led by news industry veterans and coaching from industry experts. Catch up on all the lessons from the Video Accelerator here. For monthly updates on the Accelerator Program, sign up for the FJP newsletter.