Or a Newspaper!

Let me put this one to all of you.

Newspaper’s doing video seems to be the latest greatest trend. Every paper imaginable is doing it now that you can buy a $120 camera that plugs into your computer and then send it off to YouTube. Even those staid old business rags the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times have prominent video players displayed on their sites. In fact, the Journal is hiring a video editor.

But it seems like there is a lot of reinventing the wheel going on. Newspaper video people are falling overthemselves trying to get newspapers to do more video and do it better, but more importantly, to NOT be like TV.

And of course, there’s the backlash from TV news shooters who have been doing what newspapers are just no trying to do for years and doing it at a much higher level. Of course, newspapers can learn a lot about video from TV stations.

But does it really make sense in an industry with declining revenues to get into the acquisition of expensive equipment (cheaper than before, and cheaper than TV, but still expensive) and expensive and intensive training for neophytes to video, when just down the street is a building full of video experts?

True, many of the criticisms newspapery people level at TV news are fair and valid points. The coverage is often shallow and flashy and too focused on overly made up news anchors and staged shots. TV’s weaknesses in investigative reporting and in depth coverage are exactly newspapers strenghts!

And now, as the distribution channels for both print and TV are being quickly or slowly obsoleted by the internet, both have to adapt and adjust to a medium where print and video coexist. Just like Newspaper.com’s have videos, websites for local TV stations have to have text. Usually wire stories, or poorly written copy or even worse, transcripts of news programs. If most newspapers are clueless about how to adapt to the web, most TV stations are even more clueless.

Now, usually putting together two clueless people doesn’t give you one person with a clue, but this is a case where with the right injection of innovative thinking, it might. That’s why I was glad to see this story about the editorial staffs of a local newspaper and TV station actually merging. I’m surprised that it’s taken this long, and I fully expect to see more mergers like this in the future.

So go buy yourself a TV station!

Or tell me why I’m wrong.