Thursday, October 15, 2009

Multitasking in a multimedia world

When I was a kid, I could play video games while talking on the phone — no cordless back then — and reach for a glass of pop without spilling a drop.

Maybe I was prepping myself for a career as a multimedia reporter, although some days I’m disconnected and there’s puddles of root beer all over me.

I find myself overwhelmed during some assignments, gathering accurate information, video soundbites and b-roll, enough photos to give my editor a choice and trying to do it all on a deadline.

Some online newspapers devote staff just to edit and produce video, while others have photographers to deal with the images. Many have one-man bands that either create beautiful music or make our ears bleed.

So what’s the best order to get things done? Throw a few sentences on the web? Then a photo? Then a video? Then more photos? Then an updated story? Should the updated story go up first, or does eye candy pass the velvet rope?

It’s been an eye-opening exercise to visit online newspapers in Canada — and I haven’t finished exploring Manitoba yet — but I’ve learned diddly squat about their process. It appears the big boys post early editions of articles first, then photos and videos as they become available, and finally an updated story.

Maybe it’s healthy to feel that deadline stress. It’s what drives most of us to get our work done, otherwise we’d leave it indefinitely. The day I no longer feel that pressure is probably when it will be time to give up root beer and hang up my notepad.

The Hyper Journalist


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