The Aase Switch

Thanks to Jeff Jarvis for pointing out Michael Rosenblum’s blog, and particularly some great posts he’s done about why magazines and newspapers do web video better than TV stations do.

The irony, at least from my own perspective, is the comparison between news organizations that have traditionally worked in print and those that have traditionally worked in video – that is, local TV news stations. The magazines and newspapers have far less problem adapting to video; at least in the VJ model – that is where the reporter carries their own small camera and laptop, and produces their own stories. The magazines and newspapers ‘get it’ right away because this is they way they have always worked. Newspaper journalists have never worked with a crew. They have never had to wait in a reporting situation for ‘the pencil to arrive’.

In most local newsrooms in this country, we field an average of 8 camera crews in any given day. That means 8 cameras to cover a city like Tampa or Houston or Nashville. Can you imagine what would happen if a newspaper were suddenly reduced to covering Tampa with 8 pencils?

Read the whole article here; it’s well worth it. The fundamental point is right on; in a smaller-audience world of web video, you can’t afford multi-person crews taking a long time to produce content. Rosenblum advocates miniDV production with laptops for editing.

Newspapers and magazines and others that aren’t accustomed to high-end broadcast production can be more nimble; they can send a reporter with a mini DV camera instead of just a pencil and notebook, enhancing their print reporting and at the same time opening a new world of web video opportunity. It requires a more radical rethinking for TV stations to “gear down” their production.

Ironically, I’ve seen TV stations moving in the opposite direction. I’ve seen them bring digital cameras on some of their highly popular stories, so they can create still-frame slide shows for their web sites.

So TV stations (which use hugely expensive video cameras in their main business) use inexpensive digital still cameras to create more page views that can enable them to serve more ads and generate more revenue, and newspapers (which use expensive gigapixel still cameras with foot-long lenses in their main business), use inexpensive video cameras to enhance their sites.

This is something of a take-off on the Anderson Switch, which holds that everything paid will become free and vice-versa. In the Aase Switch, TV goes print and print goes video.

Of course, I’m not optimistic this label will catch on, for two reasons. First, my last name isn’t easy to pronounce, like Chris Anderson’s. (For the record, it’s AY-see.) But more importantly, it’s so obvious that it can’t possibly be original.

Here are some other good Rosenblum posts on similar themes:

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Author: Lee Aase

Husband of one, father of six, grandfather of 14. Chancellor Emeritus, SMUG. By day I'm the Director of the Mayo Clinic Social Media Network. Whatever I say here is my personal opinion, and doesn't reflect the positions of my employer.

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