Monday, August 27, 2007

It's all about content

One of the ways I’ve continued to learn about multimedia is through the comments people leave on this blog about their own experiences.

Robert Cronkleton of the Kansas City Star is the latest to share his early ventures into multimedia reporting.

Robert collected audio of candidates for fire chief in Kansas City, Ks. Listen to the audio: I think it sounds pretty clean.

His critiques of how it ended up looking, however, really rang with my own experiences. Robert pointed to how the web player works and having the audio tracks matched up with the mug shots.

I have spent a lot of time planning multimedia, centered around how it might look. I spent too much time thinking about it. Then one day Katie, my on-line news spiritual adviser, shook me back to reality.

“Dude, you’re not a designer,” said our on-line content producer. “You’re a content guy. Worry about content.”

I needed that.

As a reporter in the print era, I never worried too much how the story would look on the page. I loved having a front-page display and a great looking package, but that was someone else’s job. I knew if didn’t produce a good story, and made sure to assign a photo or have art available, then no one could make the package better.

It’s the same with the on-line products. We can collect audio, video, documents and notes. We can put together stories using all those platforms to enhance our news gathering to help people better understand the world around them.

We shouldn’t have to worry about designing the web pages, too. We're all going to love it when the web designers begin arriving.

For now, we’re going to have to be satisfied with bringing back the content. Someone else should worry that the mug shots don't match up. After all, many of us are still getting used to shooting those mug shots.

Meanwhile, I hope other reporters starting out on this trek will send links to their work, so we can all continue to learn together.


  1. I wish I could worry only about content. But there's only a few other people at work with the software and coding skills to create multimedia packages. They're busy a lot of the time. Which means if I want a nice online package to house my content, I have to create it myself.

    I also help other people make a package for their content.

    I'm not a designer either although I do have some training and practice in the area. But I surely will be happy when someone else shows up who can do that part for me.

  2. Thanks Ron. I appreciate you sharing the advice your on-line content producer/guru gave you about focusing on the content.
    I will keep that in mind.