Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Ask Ann Derry About NYTimes Video. We Did!

Have a question about the superb videojournalism? You can ask Ann Derry herself. She's the Times' editorial director of video and television, and is fielding reader/viewer questions this week, as part of the Website's ongoing "Ask the Times" feature. (Email your questions to .)

As longtime admirers of the Times' high-quality video stories (showcased on KobreGuide's "New York Times" channel), we asked three questions, hoping for even a single response. Derry generously responded to all three:

Q. 1. What lessons can other media organizations learn from The New York Times's video experiments and experience? Most staffs seems to be half-heartedly struggling with video stories that fall short on all accounts — technically, aesthetically, journalistically. How/why is The Times succeeding and forging ahead?

2. How well is The New York Times's admirable investment in videojournalism paying off in reader/viewer engagement ... and in ad revenue?

3. What trends do you foresee in videojournalism, at The New York Times and elsewhere?

A. We've been able to accomplish so much so quickly because we had a head start: The senior producers in the video department have, collectively, about 100 years of news and documentary television experience, some of which we acquired while producing television programming for The Times.

So when we started producing video for, we were already working closely with Times reporters and editors. And we were determined to apply strong journalistic and technical standards (shooting, editing, lighting) to our video. We wanted to give viewers a high-quality video experience, whether they were watching our videos on ­ or downloading them from iTunes or watching them on television.

How is our investment paying off? We don't share our numbers publicly, but, according to Will Gonzalez, our video product manager, increasing numbers of people are viewing our videos on and off our site. Video is still a burgeoning business for The Times, as it is for the rest of the industry. We are looking at creative ways beyond advertising to monetize our video — including syndication.

I'm most interested in increasing what I like to call "the language of video" throughout our Web site. We aspire to weave video more seamlessly into Times reporting, and hope that readers/viewers come to expect and to see video everywhere on ­— whether that means short clips embedded in articles or blogs, video shot by a reporter with a still camera, video incorporated into an interactive graphic or multimedia presentation, user-generated video or even our newest form of investigative video.

Lots more great questions and insightful answers from Ann Derry about videojournalism, so go read it for yourself. And stay tuned to KobreGuide's New York Times channel for more top-notch videojournalism.

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