The skills a journalist needs for web-based video journalism would have complicated a Woodward-and-Bernstein investigation as portrayed in All the President's Men.

Web video's evolution is driven by what Michael Rosenblum describes as a "Gresham's Law of Media."

Rosenblum, a video evangelist and early video journalist, advises media companies all over the world on how to use video.

Seeing a new media landscape through Sir Thomas Gresham's idea that "bad money drives out good" changes the core of journalism.

Gresham believed that consumers, who can choose between two currencies, will hoard the one they perceive to be more valuable and trade in the other.

Immediacy vs. confidentiality

Rosenblum thinks that because online news is immediate and flexible, it is "perceived as cheaper, hence more rapidly traded."

"One is more likely to post an online article than clip than mail the very same article from the NY Times," Rosenblum wrote in a November 2008 blog post.

Cheaper technologies might dominate, but though they make the media world more immediate, they also make it tougher to protect a source.

Throughout "All the President's Men", Deep Throat remained anonymous, as he did till 2005.

As an online story evolves, it is updated with necessary video clips, and therefore it will be more difficult for a source to remain anonymous before all the interviews for the investigation are done.

Immediacy breeds new tools

Rosenblum believes that in the new media world, where what is cheap and immediate thrives, students need to have an up-to-date knowledge of new technologies.

"A basic grasp of video journalism will give me a huge boost in my career and my sense of self," says Karunya Keshav, a Broadcast Journalism student at the University of Westminster.

"Integrating different mediums such as video and audio with new platforms such as online offers a better chance of interactivity. This is where the future of media and journalism lies."

Cliff Etzel agrees with Rosenblum. Formerly a photojournalist, Etzel is a web designer and self-described "nuts-and-bolts videographer".

"Anyone who doesn't understand Wordpress is gonna get dropped by the waysdie," Etzel said.

Blogging, understanding tags and how Google works are skills that journalists need, according to Etzel.

Etzel is also telling all his website clients to maintain the blogs he sets up for them and to look at how Google picks up their posts.

Voice and Democracy

In the film, the Watergate investigation evolved daily. The news cycle could be anticipated.

Considering Paul Bradshaw's news diamond, developing a story through Twitter, blogging and beyond might make an investigation tougher because it discloses too much too fast.

Not long ago, Rosenblum spoke to Radio Free Europe and told them that the 21st century is no longer a world of print but a world of video.

With the opportunity to shoot with small HDV cameras, edit the footage from a laptop and distribute the finished piece online, Rosenblum argues that anyone with an idea can produce.

"We are going to undergo a democratisation of this incredibly powerful medium," he said.

While it might make the investigation tougher, at least it gives a voice to any journalist that wants one.


Video by Andrew Otto
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Video journalism in post-Watergate era

By: Andrew Otto