Hearst at ONA16

Notes and insights

360&VR idea/link collection

These collected links come from Profs. Robert Hernandez of USC and Dan Pacheco of Syracuse. I’ve spent time with them and with Google reps who are also working on 360 video.

I’ve come to see that our 360 app integration is one area where we are far ahead of any similar competitors. Quality of the player, however, is significantly lower than the ideal that the national players like NYT uses.

Googlers were impressed by our efforts so far and the way we’ve maximized our existing talent for on camera stand-ups to simplify the storytelling process. The professors both pushed toward VR (I got to try Hololens and Vive) as an eventual replacement for 360, but made good suggestions in the meantime.

  • Mic reporter, keep camera stationary as they move around and unite audio later.
  • “People will forgive bad video but not bad audio”
  • Don’t put the camera in places where people wouldn’t normally be. Consider a seat at the table instead of at the center. That’s more natural for the experience.
  • Use audio track cues to tell people where to look
  • Use doorways for cuts. Or cover the camera.

Attention economy is the ONA break-out party for local newsrooms

If you ask me, the break-out part of the local session wasn’t the conversation (which was good) or the suggested strategies (which were few, but present). The big success was the turnout!

The panel, consisting of KUSA’s Misty Montano and The Denver Post’s Molly Hughes and moderated by Scripps’ Chip Mahaney, shared some video samples.  Montano focused on letting her TV photographers produce video essays for OTT (Over The Top) delivery online and through platforms like Roku. Hughes set the room on fire by sharing a marijuana cooking video from the Post’s Cannabist sub-brand.

But most importantly, the turnout outnumbered the available chairs in the room. Whereas Mahaney had expected a small campfire fairytales turnout, the group his panel gathered showed ONA that there is a large and engaged subset of members who want to partake in programming geared toward them.

Push alerts

Full disclosure: I couldn’t get into this session (it was packed!), but I found these tweets interesting:



360 video: Hype or here?

“VR is just another tool to tell stories and I’m guessing that’s why everyone is in this room because (stories) are something you’re passionate about,” said Jenna Pirog, from New York Times Magazine. “This is the new tool for the toolbox. Photo, video, VR.”

This panel and the audience agreed that 360 video is here and growing, but there seemed to be less certainty about distribution, consumption and packaging that content with other news elements.

Panelist Jessica Lauretti, from HuffPost Ryot, said the storytelling style must be much slower to allow time for the user to consume the content all around them at their own pace. (Personally, I’m concerned about going too slowly)

Lauretti and James Pallot, of Emblematic, both suggested that the simulation of presence in a story will help viewers to feel empathy and motivate them to get involved in an issue.

For my own concern, I asked what they would do given our low-resource but must-produce environment. They suggested finding champions for the technology and encouraging those people to experiment. If only it was as easy to do as to say.



Fireside chat with Facebook

For an organization that invites us to share EVERYTHING but seems to rarely share about itself, I thought the headline for this keynote was an interesting choice.

In this case, the “insights” from the first portion of the conversation was based largely on notes about what users are already doing. Toward the end, however, Facebook’s Fidji Simo was pushed to answer some questions about the future.

She emphasized 360 video, a mid-roll ad option being tested for Facebook live, and suggested that live/video would only continue to grow. Across all of those, she emphasized a focus on creating immersive experiences.

“Live isn’t new, we haven’t invented live. what we’ve tried to do is bring the audience engagement as a part of the live broadcast,” said Facebook’s Simo.

Simo said that Facebook Live is getting pinned comments and broadcaster roles for reporters. Scheduled live streams are coming next month, she added.

The interviewer, CNN’s Samantha Barry, did a good job at pushing Simo toward those focal points on the future. She also said that some of their success at CNN was achieved at the expense of referrals to the CNN sites, although Simo had previously said there was a limited impact on publishers’ and frequently emphasized that Facebook wants publishers to be successful — of course they do!

“We think its really important that you be able to sustain your subscription businesses,” Simo said.
But it still seems to be a delicate balancing on the head of a pin.

Getting to Denver

I lived here for years, watching them build the transit system. I’m away for 9 months and suddenly it works!?!

Excited to attend!

Looking forward to attending ONA16, I have two goals at the top of my mind:

  1. Learning more about 360 video
  2. Supporting the TV-related groups that have sprung up within the ONA community

Over the past few years, the TV cohort has grown to the point where we now have a sponsored breakfast and a dedicated session. I’m excited to see how well these are attended, and the motivation it will give the larger organization to cover more of our industry issues in future conferences.

See you in Denver!

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