Robert Freeman's whole Media, Business and Technology thing. Sorted.

I’ve got a new job at the Guardian

with 3 comments

I’m pleased and excited to report that in August, I’ll be Head of Video at the Guardian.

The Guardian is one of those publishers that I’ve admired for a long time.  They were the first newspaper to embrace the web in same way the BBC did and they clearly understand and have a strategy for the changes which are being forced upon the whole industry.

This is a new role, (together with a Head of Audio, in the scarily capable form of Matt Wells, currently Editor of Media Guardian) and means that the Guardian will be virtually alone as a national publisher in having its own dedicated video production effort.

The offices here at the Guardian and the Observer are from what I’ve already seen, packed with smart, creative and talented people.  That’s a great resource to be starting from.

We are not going to produce multimedia stories in the same way other newspapers have, but we’re not going to go down the road of making television either.

There’s so much which is distinctive about Guardian journalism, particularly an emphasis on international stories which other organisations don’t or can’t devote time to.  But this is not just about reflecting daily news, to retain and grow audiences we also need to stimulate and entertain too.

Feature material and the absorbing articles you find in the G2 section give great examples. Here’s a particularly memorable feature for me which is precisely the kind of thing which would make a marvellous multi-media report.

This is far more difficult and time-consuming to do when you add video to the mix.  In these days of user-generated content and every phone also being a video camera there’s the thought that anyone can make video, that it’s as easy as poking a fire.

It isn’t, and for the last 5 years if you’ve heard me in seminars or conferences, I’ve always included this fact : Craft skill will always trump mere access to tools.

A trained professional is always going to produce something better than a lucky by-stander.  Training and knowledge management for journalists isn’t superfluous when supposedly anyone can be a newsgatherer, it becomes far more important.

Regular readers of this weblog might have noticed a pronounced drop-off in the number/quality/length of posts in the last couple on months, my apologies but there’s been rather a lot on, and now you know what a large part of it was!

This may mean a subtle shift in focus in what I write about here, but I haven’t thought about what it might be yet.  So, for now, forward!


Written by Robert

11 July, 2007 at 11:31 am

Posted in General, Newspapers

3 Responses

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  1. Big congratulations Rob and a nice post. From what Mr Rusbridger has been saying it looks like you’re going to be a busy man.


    30 July, 2007 at 3:07 pm

  2. Congratulations, Rob. Sounds like they’ve got the right idea about video, and looking forward to the results of all this promised investment.


    2 August, 2007 at 7:49 am

  3. Many congratulstions and the best of luck in your new role at the Guardian Rob. Look forward to seeing your influence shine through.

    Garry Bernstein

    3 September, 2007 at 10:22 pm

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