Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Kobre Videojournalism Consortium

We've applied for a Knight News Challenge grant to help subsidize our plan to create the Kobre Videojournalism Consortium.

We're inviting your input -- please take a look at our proposal here -- and take a minute to rate it and comment on it.

(To her horror, one of our colleagues accidentally hit the "one star" rating, when she meant to click "five stars" -- so we need some positive ratings to offset that!)

No, it's not a popularity contest, but obviously enthusiastic endorsements can't hurt.

And of course we welcome your feedback.

The idea, in a nutshell, is to create a consortium of top media outlets that would share ideas and resources to produce topnotch videojournalism that could be distributed to all members (to pump up audience and advertising revenue) and also licensed/syndicated to non-members for additional revenue.

Here are some of the advantages.

Lots of newspapers are producing original video stories of universal appeal whose audience potentially lies outside its own distribution area. This would give a newspaper in Detroit, for example, an opportunity to have its best work seen in Seattle, San Diego, and St. Petersburg. Bigger distribution, bigger ad dollars. AND the reciprocal opportunity for Detroit citizens to see high-quality video stories produced by newspapers in other cities, that they would not ordinarily see.

Further, we would initiate and generate original video story ideas that we would then assign to, and invite input from, partners and affiliates. This would give local context to national stories, and national context to local stories. Think of how news wire services, or TV/radio news networks, operate -- with participation from member organizations. So far, nobody has attempted this with videojournalism.

It would create a network of top videojournalists throught the nation (and eventually the world) who are either affiliated with major media outlets or cream-of-the-crop freelancers (sorry, no "citizen journalists"!). Instead of having to rely on the traditional "one-man band" approach to videojournalism -- where newspaper staffers are expected to be able to excel at a disparate variety of skill sets (interviewing, shooting, editing, etc.), we could count on specialists.

There's lots more to the proposal -- including the development of a standardized videoplayer, with the most technologically advanced functionality, that would fit all content management systems and platforms. (This has been a stumbling block to enabling media organizations from showcasing each other's work -- and we believe we are in an ideal position to solve this problem.)

Others have successfully formed loose affiliations of freelance videojournalists, notably VJ Movement and DuckRabbit.

What we're proposing is an affiliation of major media organizations, who are in a position to partner and share in the creation and distribution of original nonfiction video stories, and profit from the additional revenue that would create.

The beauty of this scheme is that, for very little additional effort, major media institutions stand to gain in the quantity and quality of videojournalism -- and, by broadening their audience both within their distribution area and beyond their geographic borders, fatten their coffers in the process.

Having published KobreGuide to the Web's Best Videojournalism since 2008, and consulting with the leading videojournalists during that time -- both at the managerial level and in the field -- we are singularly in the best position to put this plan into action.

What do you think? Let us know! If you have trouble with this link, then go to, click the READ & COMMENT tab, and enter KOBRE in the search field.

We eagerly await your feedback.

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