From the text… to the video, a challenging juncture

The process of integrating the printed and digital newsrooms is full of new challenges, and it’s no longer enough to rely on a model that molds textual content from one platform to another, now you have to open yourself to the tendency of users preferring the news to be accompanied with videos or waterfalls of pictures.

This is what today constitutes one of the demands of the newer audiences that wander through digital media. They simply seek and give more importance to complementary videographic content or images of a real event, or gifs, over text.

360-degree videos and virtual reality reports have become the newest attractive content that the majority of users of the social networks want to consume first, because these are the ways to make them engage the most with the content itself, over time piecing together every kind of audience.

This phenomenon is still worrisome for traditional media, which could be a new era in which visual information, structured and developed through videos or live images, takes the lead and the primacy over the text.

According to studies released by the Inter-American Press Association, the time of visualization of videos on social networks is increasing exponentially, in current times, by almost 48 percent, rivaling the average time devoted to reading texts in any given platform, which is much less.

This impressive boom is being driven, to a large extent, by the leading manufacturers of digital tools and promoted by the giants of the Internet, such as Facebook and Google, which offer some easy-to-use or user-friendly visual formats for “readers” to have a comfortable time when browsing for news events, mostly through smartphones or tablets, in fact, more than 75 percent of users prefer said devices, to be precise.

This forces traditional media to not remain stagnant or lagged behind these preferences. Major American newspapers such as The New York Times and The Washington Post, plus TV networks and the Associated Press news agency, have created digital channels on YouTube to complement their content offerings with videos and documentaries, sometimes even using augmented reality, under the premise that users should receive the news however they prefer to.

For multimedia journalists, this race to the future represents very difficult challenges, since it implies they know how to master the techniques for the conjunction of texts with real-time images.

In the Dominican case, the integrated newsrooms have only dipped their feet on the primary stages, in which the mentalities of traditional journalists have to adjust to the requirements of digital cultures. We still have a long way to go.

Now our editors have to educate themselves on how to take great photos and produce professional videos, for which they need to master plenty of editing techniques, on top of also learning to deal with the different languages ​​of each source, just to hook users up as much as possible on both platforms, the printed and the digital.

We’ll have to make a great effort so that our exercise of journalism does not lose any of its strengths during this accelerated evolution of social communications, in which brand new ways for hunting and broadcasting the news emerge.

May luck be with us.

– Translated from spanish by Randy Rodriguez.