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Watch for a Surge in Video News — It’s Starting Now

During the past couple of months I have been knocking on PBS doors trying to convince folks with some power to see the potential of having individual video journalists produce packages just as the folks at National Public Radio do for audio. PBS could fill the national TV news void.

Then today the New York Times ran a story  saying that places like CNN and ABC are already moving in that direction.

First here is how grand it once was:

Marcus Wilford, vice president for international digital at ABC News, recalled that when he was hired 20 years ago, the news division’s Paris bureau had three camera crews, three producers, two correspondents, drivers, and a chef in a house with a view of the Eiffel Tower. Today the ABC News presence in Paris consists of a lone staff producer.

Here is how awful the situation has become:

When news happens — as it did last week when fighting broke out between Russia and Georgia — the networks can be caught flat-footed. NBC News, for instance, no longer stations a full-time correspondent in Russia and instead relies on a producer in Moscow.

Finally, here is another Times synopsis of what is happening:

CNN announced Tuesday that it would “double its domestic news-gathering presence” by assigning journalists to 10 additional cities across the United States.

But the journalists will not work from news bureaus; instead, they will be stationed at local television affiliates and other office locations. Using inexpensive laptops and cameras, they will file stories for the Internet and report live on television. One “all-platform journalist” will be assigned to each city.

The strategy reflects the increasingly portable and flexible nature of television production. Expensive bureaus with camera crews and satellite uplinks are increasingly being downsized by TV news divisions, in favor of so-called “one man bands” that interview, write, record, edit and report live.

Maybe TV news has hit bottom and is about to surge upwards again.

Of course, similar models might be in store for individual print journalists as the big newspaper companies continue to shrink. Today this from the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s parent company:

Cox Enterprises, Inc. announced today that it intends to sell the Austin American-Statesman, its affiliated operations including, and all of Cox’s stand-alone community newspapers in North Carolina, Colorado and Texas. Cox also intends to sell Valpak, the nation’s leader in cooperative direct mail advertising.

Cox Enterprises will retain ownership of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Palm Beach Post, Dayton Daily News and their affiliated publications.

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