Surprisingly, individual non-moving photographs still rule the day in news reporting. And we make sure that we rule with the medium that rules.
All the photographs you see on Free Press are our own unique work. It’s a value for you that other sites in the metro don’t fully provide.
I will do short videos from time to time if I think it really helps for you, the reader, to see and hear the way a person is saying something.
But from several articles I have read recently about online reading preferences, and from watching our numbers, readers are impatient with having to watch a video to get the news.
Putting together some metrics about how Free Press is read, that begins to make more and more sense.
From the start and consistently thereafter, analytics show that over 70 percent of our stories are read from a mobile device.
Six to seven percent are read on a tablet, with the remainder on desktop.
That means with close to 80 percent of our content, the reader is looking over the story during the fast pace of their day.
Most importantly, it is likely they are paying for the data they use to read our stories.
That means videos that suck up data more than any other medium become the enemy of most of our readers who become more data-volume conscious with every year.
And so, many of our readers consume more of the still photography and text copy than when we embed videos in our stories.
From a standpoint of the time budget for gathering, writing, editing both copy and photos, still photography is still the most efficient.
And perhaps it much more effectively and quickly tells a visual story better than video if it is done the right way.
As the sole reporter so far, I know good photography is critical to delivering an accurate story to you.
It also adds value to the site by drawing people to other stories on Free Press.
To get the story right, we must do the photography instead of depending on slick posed photos provided by someone else.
Quite often I won’t even be aware of just how well a photograph finishes off the story until I download what I have taken and start editing.
That’s why I work so hard to get the right shot and lug equipment around all over the city. It’s important.
The hard work and experience we put into our photography also means that we copyright our work.
It also means we sell our work to other commercial publications instead of giving it away, and even then, we require full credit and a link be given to Free Press.
The Cinema category will be the one exception to the only-our-photography rule.
And to narrow it down, the movie reviews we do will use stills from the film provided by the film maker.
Those far surpass anything we could do to give a visual view of the film to the reader.
We will still do our own photography for cinema events like film festivals.
On the lookout
Please help me by giving some feedback about which photographs helped you to understand the story best.
I’m eager to hear from you about that and anything else.