From the Anchor Chair: To ‘Flip’ or Not to ‘Flip’

Here’s my latest blog for RTDNA:

From the Anchor Chair: To ‘Flip’ or Not to ‘Flip’

By Nikki Burdine, WHAG-NBC25

In a previous blog post, I talked about using UStream as a way to connect with viewers with reporters and anchors on another level. While it is a great way to let viewers in on the inside of a show, is the poor quality and delay of online video worth it? Is connecting with our viewers worth the sacrifice of quality video and immediacy that comes with it?

I’m not just wondering about UStream but rather all online, hand-held, hastily-shot video. What about going live for your station via Skype? So many people are doing it these days, not just small town reporters who don’t have a photographer or a live truck. For goodness sake, Oprah is doing it. We all know she doesn’t need to cut anything out of her budget.

Skype, TwitVideo, UStream, LiveStream, etc. are all great tools for journalists. They help capture the moment you’re in right then and there, and deliver it to the viewer. And while that’s all fine and dandy, let’s be honest, sometimes the sacrifice in quality isn’t completely necessary.

I’ve used the Flipcams many times before and they are great for covering breaking news (or when you have nothing else to use.) And remember, the very best camera you can have is the one you have in your hand when the news is breaking. But should Flipcams be used for packages and video to air on the 6 p.m. news regularly? I don’t think so.

Don’t get me wrong, I love how lightweight the Flipcams are. Compared to my 42 pounds of combined equipment I usually use, they are simply heaven, but that’s not to say they should be the default option.

What often separates news produced by broadcast professionals from that of citizen journalists and bloggers is quality – quality of reporting, quality of writing and quality of presentation. In my experience, a professional, high-quality newscast goes a long way with an audience, especially if it’s done consistently.

Trust me, I’m not “hating” on Flipcams here, nor am I advocating that you stop using them. They are invaluable during breaking news and as the technology evolves a bit more I’m sure even the most specialized cameras will fit in our palms, but right now, as professional broadcast journalists, we should be aiming a bit higher whenever we can.

Nikki Burdine is the anchor and producer for the noon and 5 p.m. show at WHAG-NBC25 in Hagerstown, Maryland. Nikki is a southern belle, hailing from East Tennessee, who has a passion (and self-proclaimed obsession) for the news and social media. She is writing a bi-weekly blog for RTDNA. Follow her on Twitter: @NikkiBurdine


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