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Video or Text Journalism - Do We Need Regulations?

By Dan Willstrand Jun 25, 2018

Tags Publisher

Reading 2 min

Have you ever refrained from clicking an online news story because it was a video? Was it because you knew you’d have to sit through a 30 second pre-roll ad to get what you wanted? Or because news publishers have started using video too extensively? Or a combination? My point is that many publishers in their ambition to grow their video business–and hopefully their online revenues–have lost their orientation when it comes to choosing the right media for the right story.

video or text



When should I use video?

Let’s put this straight: in news media, video is an unbeatable format for visual stories and emotions. Giving your users live pictures from the real action (the crash, the earthquake, the fight, the lie or the beautiful performance) clearly adds a value. There’s no way words alone can explain such events as effectively. Correspondingly, there are stories where text is absolutely preferable. No one is interested in watching someone read the news (the only reason that happens on broadcast is that video is the only format they possess). News summaries and financial reporting for instance, are typically easier and faster to consume in text.

A conflict on the rise

With these simple conclusions in mind, it’s interesting to follow the emerging conflict in some markets, between newspapers and broadcasters, about who should be allowed to do what in digital media. In Sweden for instance, the national organisation for newspaper publishers (TU) has recently accused the Public Broadcaster SVT for unfair competition, since SVT has started publishing local news articles on their website. According to TU, Public Service are using taxpayers’ money to compete with local, privately owned newspapers, and ultimately risking the future of independent press. SVT should stick to producing and distributing TV,

No need for regulations

Now, there are certainly good reasons to keep an eye on Public Service and its role, in the fast-changing media landscape. But setting rules for which digital media formats different types of publishers can use–based on legacy–is just reactionary. Contrary to the purpose, such regulations risk making established media less relevant and competitive.

Instead of fighting each other, news publishers should focus on the media consumers’ interests, use the best available media formats to tell their stories, help them find the stories, wherever they are published, and look at publisher collaboration as a means to grow and keep the audience.

Strossle’s platform allows media outlets to share users in an ecosystem of quality media. The concept is really simple: let your readers find the best content on other media sites, and get engaged new readers in return. This benefits both consumers and publishers.

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