Online Journalism

Entries Tagged as 'video'

Guest Speaker: BJ Koubaroulis

April 7th, 2011 · Comments Off on Guest Speaker: BJ Koubaroulis

BJ Koubaroulis, former George Mason University student who graduated with a B.A. in Communication in 2004, spoke to our Comm. 361 class on March 31. He currently works a a sports writer at The Washington Post.


The first thing he spoke about was how “you’ll start from the bottom and work your way up: that’s how you learn.” While it may seem like an obvious statement, it’s easy to forget that the only way you’re going to learn is by making your mistakes NOW instead of when it REALLY matters.

He recommends working at a small paper to give you an opportunity to 1) learn and 2) make your mistakes.

Going along with that, he said he learned the most at his internships and the small newspapers he worked for.

He explained how he fell in love with high school sports and actually enjoyed it the most out of all his sports coverage for three reasons: 1) Most access, 2) Most real people, and 3) The people actually enjoy speaking to you.

He then spoke a lot about video. That words seems to keep appearing. He explained how video has been a life changing experience for him. He explained how individuals can harness the power of video, whereas before media companies were needed to utilize video. ANYONE CAN DO IT.

Video allowed him to become a better writer. If that’s not reason enough to learn video, then I don’t know what is.

He then explained how everyone should learn:

  • How to use the Web
  • HTML
  • Social media
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Pictures

And with that he had this to say about journalism today: “It’s just one job now. Everything is intermixed.”

“If you’re not going to change, you’re just going to get left behind.”

“Do all of it, don’t limit yourself.”

He then ended his presentation with FOUR things every journalist should have:

  1. Camera
  2. Computer
  3. Microphone
  4. Be ready to work!

In conclusion, he also showed us a REALLY cool website that incorporated all the things he’s talking about. It is an interactive website of George Mason University’s Fairfax campus. Check it out here.

Tags: Comm361 · social media · Student Blog Posts · video

Guest speaker: BJ Koubaroulis

March 31st, 2011 · Comments Off on Guest speaker: BJ Koubaroulis

BJ Koubaroulis, former Mason student, wrote for Washington Post in the past, but now is the CEO of Synthesis Multimedia Productions/Koubaroulis LLC.

BJ in front of the camera

He always wanted be a sports writer. He started covering local sports and started enjoying it. He got his learning experiences in small newspapers, he actually didn’t learn as much when he got to the Washington Post.

To be different from everyone else: took on video! We’re seeing that individuals can make a difference in video, instead of big productions.

He started a company with a “bunch of him” that being one-man show video person. The Washington Post contracted them to make videos for online content. Writers do stand-up for them in a way to make the videos more Washington Post material.

What makes them unique? The videos come in two hours after the game is over.

Tips from BJ:

  • “I’ve done a lot of different things. And you should do everything. Radio, newspaper, television. Most of the time for free.”
  • Unpaid internships? You are investing in yourself.
  • Do radio, do video, do everything, because you are doing everything right now. You are a media person. Be all of it, and you will be able to do the one thing you want to do.
  • If you are not going to change, you are going to be left behind. Do all of it.
  • Starting his company, he took people that were journalists at heart.
  • On media, love it, but don’t count on it.
  • What do you need? A camera, computer, microphone, and ready to work hard.
  • Anybody can do what we are doing. You just need the material.

Other clients? Worked with Mason on the digital tour. Worked with Northern Virginia magazine.

Tags: Comm361 · Student Blog Posts · video

Briggs Ch. 8 – ‘Telling stories with video’

March 22nd, 2011 · Comments Off on Briggs Ch. 8 – ‘Telling stories with video’



Video storytelling was the concept of this chapter. Now anyone can use the digital equipment around them to create video storytelling, it just takes a lot of practice. Thanks to YouTube, the quality of the video doesn’t have to be very high. What’s important is authenticity.

The most entertaining videos get re-posted over and over. The New York Times’ David Pogue creates videos to follow this entertaining format. However, they are also very high quality.

Just as entertaining is Walt Mossberg’s videos for “The Wall Street Journal”.

Tips for video storytelling:

  • Be comfortable with the equipment before you start.
  • Pick the right approach for the project — breaking news/highlight clips or documentary-style.
  • Organize your story in a storyboard, if possible.
  • Take a variety of shots but not at the same time.
  • Prepare before you interview (pick the right environment, pre-write questions, etc.).
  • Don’t buy more camera than you need.
  • Give your best material and keep it short.
  • Avoid zooming in and out to get shots, instead hold the shot for 15 seconds then stop recording. Record after you have adjusted to the next shot.
  • Wireless mics can help when capturing interviews, built-in mics are good for environmental sound.
  • The editing process can be helpful because you see what you need to improve on and if you need to reorganize.
  • Many computer already come with preloaded video editing software but you can always buy more,
  • Certain sites, like YouTube, will compress your video and then post it.
  • FTP sites allow you to email larger files.
  • Viral distribution is a goal, sites like tubemogul help to spread your videos.
Video Editing

Video Editing

Tags: Comm361 · Student Blog Posts · video

Chapter 8: Telling Stories with Video

March 22nd, 2011 · Comments Off on Chapter 8: Telling Stories with Video

Some things just can’t be expressed with words. That’s where the POWER of videos comes in.


“The tools have changed, but the game remains the same: visual journalism is about telling compelling stories that connect an audience with subjects, people and issues.” – Mark Briggs

First thing to know about making videos to tell one’s story is that perfection is not necessary. A video’s authenticity and behind the scenes feel, can go much further sometimes than a “perfectly” edited video.


  1. Use different approaches depending on the project.
  2. Storyboarding.
  3. Mix up the shots.

Some good accessories to have are:

  • Tapes and batteries: Make sure you have enough power and space.
  • Microphones: Built-in mic for natural/environmental sound, wireless-mic for interviews and shotgun mic to get conversations among several people.
  • Tripod: There’s nothing better than a steady shot to produce a professional video.
  • Headphones: Listen while you shoot to make sure the audio is good.
  • Lighting: Powerful lighting produces a powerful video.

Some great lessons for visual storytelling, according to Briggs, are:

  • Define your story in the first 20 seconds; make sure to HOOK your audience.
  • There must be a beginning, middle and end.
  • Don’t let your viewers get bored! Short clips are the way to go.
  • Focus on only ONE central idea and stay with that ONE idea.
  • Characters are what make your stories. Better characters = better story.

Final thing is to publish your video online. Posting it on your own website is great, but viral video distribution is that way to go. Freelance multimedia journalist Angela Grant recommends using TubeMogul that will automatically upload your video to 20 different video-sharing sites, including YouTube.

Bottom line: Shoot, shoot and shoot some more.

Tags: briggs · Comm361 · Student Blog Posts · video

Briggs Review 8: Video journalism

March 20th, 2011 · Comments Off on Briggs Review 8: Video journalism

Video journalism is an important way of telling a news story, whether its breaking news or a documentary, but there are a few different approaches. The biggest question one might ask is how much the quality of the video matters, and the answer is not much: “…the audience for video has become extremely forgiving and is now open to all levels of quality…quick and less polished video content on news sites often draws bigger audiences.” Sometimes the less polished videos are the most authentic ones and the audience knows it and is drawn to it.

Here, for example, is a video clip of the Japanese tsunami of 2011:

Click here to view the embedded video.

It is a bit shaky and not the best quality, but it is a professional video clip from CBS. It is the content that the users are most interested in and not the quality, especially when it comes to breaking news.

The difference between producing breaking news stories and documentaries is the time you have to plan your story. With breaking news it is important to simply get to the news scene and get footage of witnesses, first-hand accounts, and the overall environment of the incident- even if it means using a cell phone to record video. If it is a documentary, then you will want to take your time on it and make a storyboard. For both documentaries and interviews you will want to create a script.

Here are some tips for recording video:

  • It is good to shoot a variety of ranges (wide, medium, and tight), but do not overuse zoom (aka don’t record while you are zooming) as it makes a video look more amateur.
  • Shoot video like you are taking a still picture. A tripod is a good idea.
  • Sound is important! Make sure the audio is loud and clear- nobody will watch a video if they can’t hear what’s going on. Also, have a variety of sounds in your video, like ambient (background) noise, natural noise, voiceovers, etc.

One important thing to remember is that you should always be flexible and record what may not seem important now but could become important later on.

Tags: briggs · Comm361 · Student Blog Posts · video

Chapter 8: telling stories with video

March 12th, 2011 · Comments Off on Chapter 8: telling stories with video

In this chapter, Briggs makes a point in explaining that good video speaks for itself. No need to edit, do voice overs. No, nothing. Good rough video, and the audience will get the message.

“Visual journalism is about telling compelling stories that connect an audience with subjects, people, and issues.”

Some things are better to understand if you have video. The digital world made video even more accessible and easy to use.

It’s up to you if you want to use your webcam to record video, or if you want to set up a well-illuminated high-quality well-edited video session.

Despite your decision, there are some tips and guidelines you need to follow:

  • Know the approach you’re going to take. Are you breaking news? Is it a highlight clip? Every clip asks for a different approach
  • Plan ahead. Sketch your story. Storyboard! Have an idea in mind before you start.
  • Mix your shots. Use five-shot sequence: 1-close-up on the hands, 2- close-up on the face, 3-wide shot, 4-over-the-shoulder shot, 5-creative shot.
  • Sound is very important in a video!
  • Force yourself to feel comfortable doing stand-ups. Get up!

When shooting a video, keep in mind the focus, zoom, exposure! Think about composition, and keep it short!

You don’t have a camera? Start with your webcam like I did.

Click here to view the embedded video.

If you ready to go out and shoot, get yourself a camera! Not ready to buy a camera? You can always borrow one from the starlab!

Tags: briggs · Comm361 · Student Blog Posts · video

Guest speaker: Jim Iovino

March 10th, 2011 · Comments Off on Guest speaker: Jim Iovino


One word: video.

Pat Collins always finds an interesting angle on a story that no one else will have. It’s all about the basic journalism.

  • Good reporting and a good angle=always important. What’s unique about it?

We all know media will be covering the same stories. The website tries to find an unique story, an unique angle. Dig a little bit deeper. This is why you should care. We understand the community. We want to be part of this community. We are there for them.

Collins is a great example. He takes 20 minutes a day to answer questions. It’s a way to connect with the audience. People relate to them!

Other points made by Iovino:

  • NBC is becoming a content center, and tries to reach out different ways. Examples? and Capitals blog on their website.
  • The 20.Voices leading the local conversation.
  • People love to see rough footage.
  • “Just like a good picture speaks for itself, good video speaks for itself.”
  • Major traffic comes from local news, weather, and entertainment.

Tags: Comm361 · Student Blog Posts · video

Guest Speaker: Jim Iovino

March 10th, 2011 · Comments Off on Guest Speaker: Jim Iovino

Jim Iovino, editor from NBC Washington, came and spoke to our Comm. 361 class today. He spoke to us about online journalism and how to make it better than the next person.


Iovino started his journalism working as a writer for a newspaper in Pittsburgh, then transferred over to TV, then was a senior news editor in Columbus, Ohio, then finally came to Washington, D.C. to pursue his career as an online journalist.

I wanted to be ahead of the next curve,” Iovino said. “I knew that there was a transition from print journalism to online journalism and I was ready to get into it.”

He showed us a video that Pat Collins did during the DMV snowstorm of 2010. The video, which can be viewed here was just an interview of a woman who walked 6 milesin the snow for a free sandwich. Iovino explained that Pat is good at what he does because he’s not afraid to take chances and cover stories others don’t even think of.

Iovino said, “Find an interesting angle to a story that you think nobody else is going to have and OWN it.” Don’t be afraid to try something different and see how it does.

Iovino explained how there’s a lot of collaborating on the NBC Washington website. He showed us the blog The 20 which has various blog posts from other journalists in which people can comment on.

How do you set yourself apar from others?

Iovino explained how, “You want to be the first one out there with the story. You want to be able to say that YOU were the first one to break the story.”

He also showed us a really cool part of the website called “Adept or Inept” which is an original series produced by American University’s Spring 2011 Intro to Studio Television class. It’s a site compiled of student produced videos that has ordinary people learn how to do certain skills such as become a male cheerleader, dance hip-hop, or even bellydance. At the end of the video viewers can then vote whether they found the person to be adept or inept to the skill. Very cool!

In regards to video, Iovino explained that, “People love to see rough footage.”

Sometimes less really is more. Very helpful presentation.

Tags: Comm361 · Student Blog Posts · video

Chapter 8: Telling Stories with Video

March 3rd, 2011 · Comments Off on Chapter 8: Telling Stories with Video

Thanks to the emergence of cheap video cameras and free video-editing softwares, video journalism has become easier than ever. Even without purchasing over $35,000 worth equipments that used to be requirements, anyone can produce high-quality videos and upload in Web. It has become  so easy that millions around the world frequently upload videos. In mid 2009, YouTube reported that 20 hours of videos were uploaded on their server every second.


Image via Wikipedia

As a beginner in video journalism, what kind of mindset should we have?

Perfection is not necessary. Just do it and make as many mistakes as you can.

Of course, it is always better to produce the perfect video that we think of. However, quick and less polished videos tend to attract more viewers, because of it s natural atmosphere and intimacy it provides to the viewers. Even professional video journalists intently give imperfections in their videos, such as shakes or interruptions by others in the video, to emphasize certain aspects in the story.

The following video is a footage of the protest in Egypt, which also captured the reporter being attacked by protesters in the middle of turmoil:

Click here to view the embedded video.

As shown, the imperfect handling of camera and the sudden attack on the reporter well delivers the atmosphere of the scene.

Different approaches for different projects

  • You will never know what will happen while filming a breaking news video. Although you will often not have access to the closest to the scene, capturing witnesses and surroundings of the scene can also make a good video.
  • Breaking news stories can also be connected to the press conferences to help audience analyze the situation.
  • Compilation of highlights can shorten the length of the video with the most available information delivered to the audience
  • A documentary video gives you more freedom. However, it requires more planning and resources.

There are three kinds of shots — wide shots, medium shots and close-ups. It is better to mix your shots to give your video a variety. It is recommended to use “five-shot sequences,” which consists of five different consecutive shots to keep the audience focused on the video.

Stand-up is often necessary in reporting breaking news or covering major sporting event. The below are some tips for planning your video:

Bauer Bosch Video Kamera

Image via Wikipedia

  • Keep your content short, but always be ready to provide something little extra for the audience
  • Even when reporting breaking news, always write a script and warm up
  • Be stable in posture and breathe easily
  • Use some hand gestures to make yourself look easy on camera


  • High definition or standard definition
    • With abundant resources and technologically knowledgeable staffs, don’t be afraid to use HD
    • If your resources are limited with amateur staffs, it may be better to use standard definition
  • Media type
    • DVDs have many limitations, including slow writing speed
    • Solid state media, such as flash memory cards, have faster access time and more flexibility
  • Video-editing software
    • Make sure the video format captured by a camera is compatible with the editing software you will be using
    • Some programs do not work with DVDs or with new AVCHD format
  • Accessories
    • Tapes and batteries for longer running time
    • Microphones to capture more delicate sounds
    • Tripod when the video is to be captured in a stable setting
    • Headphones to make sure the audio is being recorded clearly
    • Lighting to be used in darker environment, or to change the tone of color of the scene

How do you shoot a video?

It’s simple. Follow these steps: Focus, zoom and adjust the exposure. Aim for solid clips rather than dramatic, spectacular clips. Be selective when to run your camera to save your runtime, and avoid panning and zooming in the middle of the video to prevent the audience from feeling dizzy watching your clips. Keep your voice silent to avoid putting unnecessary, or often unpleasant sound effects in your video, and follow the rule of thirds.

Rule of thirds: When framing your video, the most important subject in the frame should be aligned on one of four axis points in your imaginary nine-square grid within the frame.


  • Keep it short
  • Choose your own fitting editing software, ranging from free softwares such as Windows Movie Maker and iMovie, to professional, pricy softwares such as Final Cut, Adobe Premiere, Sony Vegas, Corel VideoStudio, Cyberlink PowerDirector and Pinnacle Studio.
  • Publishing can be done via YouTube, Vimeo, and Metacafe.
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Tags: Comm361 · Student Blog Posts · video

40 years later, the word is ‘video’!

February 20th, 2011 · No Comments

Tags: Comm361 · multimedia · online journalism · video