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CNN.com Relaunch Emphasizes Video July 1, 2007

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Convergence, Journalism, News, Reviews, Web Video.

Video features heavily in the new CNN.com which relaunches today after an overhaul of several weeks. The enhanced multimedia site now has widescreen clips and live news video feeds packed with web 2.0 features like recommendations and user generated content. Google and Yahoo are CNN’s search providers.

CNN has abandoned its subscription-based video service, Pipeline, in favour of a free ad-supported video news archive. The Microsoft media format has been replaced with Flash video, which is more accessible across browsers and allows more options for interactive multimedia features.

Nick Wrenn, CNN International’s managing editor for Europe, the Middle East and Africa said demand for online video clips had increased over the last three years. “The changes we’re making will allow people to watch more video in a bigger screen,” he said. Using a blog, the redesign team explained elements of the new design and sought feedback from users.

“We’re encouraging the journalists to think very creatively about how people are “consuming the story.” Do they necessarily need to write 800 words when we’ve got some really compelling video which loads straight into the page and really tells that story? Or is there a really good blog that they can link to?” added Wrenn.

CNN describes its new design as “story centric”, allowing the user to choose to access each story using text, video or multimedia slideshow formats from a set of tabs on each story page. In the previous “flat” site, users had to open pop-up windows to see videos on text-dominated pages. Each story will also include posts obtained by the Sphere blog search engine.

The revamped site features local content based on US postal codes. On the CNN International section, localization is at the level of countries or key cities. An automated categorization system lets users find related content about people, places and topics. It will also be used to promote popular topics to the site’s top-level navigation.

Take a tour of the new site

The idea of meta-writing, which encompasses design in its widest sense, is going to drive the new journalism. While good writing is key, the ability to produce images, create video, design layout and manage communities around audience-created content are emerging skills.

With the convergence of platforms and craft, video is the new vernacular and will be at the heart of multimedia journalism on the Web. These changes are deep, they’re not just about technology or producing and consuming media, but about the way societies come to know and converse with the world.
Journalist/Documentary maker

In these days of multi-platform mayhem, do not ignore the basics. Accuracy, speed and persistence, combined with an ability to listen and learn, are the best platform, no matter how many gadgets your story appears on.

After that, get technical. Apart from a few select people, the days when you’d focus only on print, TV or radio are gone. So, if it’s second nature for you to record fantastic pictures on your phone, write and record a track, edit it all together and bang it up on your website in the time it takes to replenish the morning coffee.

Managing Editor, CNN International EMEA

CNN’s revamp underscores the key ideas that are driving Web 2.0 which I have been writing about here – the ability to search content, a return to the gift economy and video as the new vernacular. The converged media landscape means communicating appropriately for any medium.

Writing a headline, editing a sound-bite or crafting a precis remain core skills, but audio and video reporting skills are increasingly important. And content cannot be corralled when you want more eyeballs on more platforms.



1. Thursday links | News Videographer - July 5, 2007

[…] CNN is also offering some new stuff. Widescreen, video feeds, rating, comments. Here’s a “tour” of the changes. […]

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