Saturday, October 27, 2012

Multimedia as a Form of Audience Interaction

As a regular viewer of "The Sweet Spot," a New York Times video blog by David Carr and A. O. Scott, I began to think of the emphasis journalists and journalism schools place on connecting with the audience.

Having individual reporters "vlog" or do radio interviews on specific pieces is not a new form of engaging audience with the news. However, "The Sweet Spot" goes above and beyond to show the usually invisible faces of "traditional" news organizations, like the New York Times.
Carr and Scott literally sit down with viewers on a regular basis and carry out, what seems like, natural conversations on topics that are not scripted and edited like in broadcast news segments. The flow of their dialogue is not awkward and looks for new angles on mostly arts & cultural issues, but sometimes issues like election coverage. Most importantly, the vlogs interview various NYT reporters and editors on their opinions or usual habits. In the segment "Election Overload," they asked about consumption of election news. In past segments, they've revealed reporters' guilty pleasures, often finding middle-aged  editors who love the song "Call Me Maybe." In "Election Overload" they even interviewed Executive Editor Jill Abramson.

While these are fairly simple dialogues and topics, I feel they are a new form of audience interaction that more "traditional" organizations should explore in order to continue being relevant.

On a brief side note, because I usually critique multimedia production, it did seem that in most of the one-on-one interviews "The Sweet Spot" failed to use a tripod to stabilize the camera. As this is a pet peeve for me, I do find it amazing that this is an issue for even the New York Times.

The Sweet Spot "Election Overlode?"

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