Source: TelegraphTV News

Mindy McAdams (Teaching Online Journalism) wrote:

The crucial difference between these two laptops, though, is not the hardware — it’s the software. The Mac OS X operating system and the iLife suite — iTunes, iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD, iWeb, and GarageBand — will make it easy for you to start producing multimedia stories. Windows Vista will not.

Mindy faces some criticism for this perspective, but as an avid user of UbuntuLinux, Windows and Mac operating systems, I have to agree that for journalism purposes, a Macbook Pro running iLife is going to be much better. It all boils down to what you think journalism is REALLY about–are we all to be video journalists in the end? This video about journalism…puts it in context:

Source: YouTube Video – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9rvBgaxUXrc

If it’s only about words, creating and collaborating online via content management systems (e.g. Joomla, WordPress, Modx) and other services (e.g. GoogleDocs) then any machine would work. If it was about working with images such as photos, etc., or audio recording/editing, then all 3 operating systems have something to offer. The software tools for these include Picasa (available for Windows and GNU/Linux) for image management, THE GIMP for image editing (available for all 3 platforms), and Audacity, although some would argue Garageband on the Mac easily trumps Audacity (it does in some ways but I prefer Audacity…but then, I don’t podcast as much as I would have thought I should have).

Source: Citzen Journalism – What is It? – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=58iZpMRclwI

But if you believe that journalism is about more than words and print–and it certainly must be in these times of change–then video factors in and for that, a Macbook Pro does seem the easiest way to go.

Consider these opinions:

Howard Owens asks, Is your site producing enough video, or are you still doing hours-long productions praying for a hit? With this question, it appears that journalists need to be producing video. He cites a Brett Wilson (TubeMogul.com CEO) as quoted in Beet.tv assertion that says online video has a short shelf life…essentially, if you’re going to make it, you need to be able to produce video and get it online fast. In this entry, Owens quotes Tammy Haddad (another Beet.tv source) : With hand held cameras, video reporting is a natural extension of print reporting and holds great advantage for newspaper publishers.

There are certainly a lot of video recording tools–here’s a discussion by the Wired Journalists with examples of video produced on Windows MovieMaker–available these days. FLIP cameras are being used by everyday people to contribute video content…but so are video phones that are commonly available. With Gcast, you can easily record audio, or, using your mobile phone’s video recording capability, record video and upload it to Flickr or YouTube.

Source: Exposing the Power of Citizen Journalism – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zq-KF177mqA

DigiDave points out in Real World Tips for A Changing Newsroom that every employee [should] work within multimedia goals and be trained in multimedia. At the BookSeller’s Blog, video use is also encouraged in this entry entitled A Great Use of Video:

How can you integrate this idea into your store’s blog or website? If you have an author in the store, ask if you can record a brief video. Let the author talk about his or her area of expertise, but in a way that doesn’t just promote the book but also provides a nugget of valuable information that might be shared.

Secondly, if you don’t have an author, you can find someone in your community who can speak to a topic that is of interest to your community. Is one of your customers a financial planner? Record them speaking about their take on what people should do, and integrate that into a post where you write about some of the new books addressing the topic.

I followed one of the comment links on the post above and ended up at bookstv, and watched this book review of How I Became a Pirate.

Since I know nothing about “real” journalism, I find myself agreeing with Mindy. Clearly, you need to be able to produce video quickly. While one can certainly record video with a FLIP camera or video-phone, editing video on a Windows machine just doesn’t seem as easy as on a Mac. In fact, while I loathe iTunes, iPhoto, I think iMovie is great. . .it works great and makes editing a video, adding effects easy. Throw in Final Cut Pro and you can really go to town.

I’d never consider doing video on an UbuntuLinux machine. While it’s gotten easier to view video, I don’t think the video editors on GNU/Linux are anywhere as easy to use as iMovie. But I’m sure that the time is coming when similar apps will be available…but that time isn’t now.

Of course, this is only if you’re going to be focused on video (and being a “new” journalist certainly seems to involve working with video and doing some editing).

What do you think? Video an essential tool for journalists, traditional or otherwise? And, what tools would you have in your toolkit?

So, a quick recap on the video journalists’ toolkit:

  • FLIP video camera (<$150)
  • Mobile Phone built in video with accompanying video upload to YouTube or Flickr, same with images/photos to Flickr or PicasaWeb
  • Audio recording with digital audio recorder or just use Gcast on a mobile phone
  • Software:
    -MacOS – iLife Suite, Audacity,
    -Windows – Moviemaker/PhotoStory, Audacity
    -UbuntuLinux – Forget video, Audacity

What would you add, Wired Journalists?


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