A judge’s gripes about photos, videos

By Steve Outing

EPpiesWhew! I’ve finished my annual volunteer judging duties for the EPpy Awards for best work in online news media. (The competition is run by Editor & Publisher and Mediaweek, and results will be announced in May. … I have a long history with the awards, having been the original organizer back in the dark ages of new media — 1996 — and I think been a judge every year since. I might have missed one year; it’s a blur.)

Anyway, this year my category assignment had me looking at lots of multimedia news packages. I’d say, overall, that I continue to observe a steady improvement in the state of the art of multimedia news. However, I continue to observe a couple key weaknesses: handling of photos and videos.

With photos, news sites continue to run them too small. I saw this over and over with the entries I judged. I don’t know why; maybe there’s still fear that too many people still use dial-up connections to the Internet. (My advice: Get over it!)

With videos, so many of the packages I reviewed had tiny video windows. Worse, many of them lacked any controls — no pause button, mute button or volume slider. Ugh. As usual, the entrepreneurs in the video space are doing a better job than established news companies. Take a look at how YouTube and Current TV present their videos, for example. (Not perfect, though; no volume controls.)

Author: Steve Outing Steve Outing is a Boulder, Colorado-based media futurist, digital-news innovator, consultant, journalist, and educator. ... Need assistance with media-company future strategy? Get in touch with Steve!