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Vblogs present TV newsrooms with distribution avenue, potential competitor

Just when you thought you had a pretty good grip on the fast changing technology of newsgathering, something comes out of left field and makes you re-evaluate where you are with newsgathering technology and where you’re headed.

The latest shot over the bow of the good ship “Business As Usual” may come from an unexpected quadrant of the Internet known as blogs –specifically Vblogs, or video web logs. To say this phenomenon is nascent may be giving it too much credit for being established at this point. But with the power of the Internet to spread ideas and the inclination of hardware vendors to throw capabilities at cell phones, video cameras and PDAs until those gadgets catch on, VBlogging may one-day soon present challenges and opportunities to television news departments.

Blogging encompasses everything from way-out rants to legitimate news and commentary from established, mainstream reporters, pundits and columnists. Video blogging is likely to follow the same path, offering a station’s correspondents greater freedom to communicate with a constituency 24/7 and those with a desire and a little technology the chance to write, shoot, edit and distribute video journalism –on their own, even from the field.

Some of the technology and tools facilitating Vblogging includes:

  • SV-AV30 MPEG4 video camera from Panasonic
  • PDA or PocketPC with a keyboard
  • Serious Magic Visual Communicator for Vblogging templates and workflow
  • Microsoft Portrait v 2.21, a mobile video communications software package for the HP Photosmart Mobile Camera and Hitachi G1000 Pocket PC phone built-in camera.

Vblogging is already used by a handful of traditional media outlets to supplement their reporting efforts. The question that remains unanswered at this point is how many individuals and organizations that have never set foot inside a local television station will use Vblogging for newsgathering and disseminating community news and who will watch.

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