Pro video blog…Produced by Philip Johnston DoP/Editor


As more and more newspapers turn to the web how does this affect the media in general, is there a future in photojournalism ?

To start with the NUJ (National Union of Journalists) are holding training courses, re-training many of their photographers and journalists on how to produce video as more outlets like newspapers are turning to video content.

Needless to say many more DSLRs like the Nikon D800 have been bought over the last 6 months to accommodate the second income stream, but are there any losers in all this seemingly extra work ?

The brutal answer is yes, as more photographers bring their skills over to video, work that was originally done by production companies is drying up. Many so-called professional stills people have always seen video second to photography, though that attitude is eroding as more photographers try their hand at video.

None more so than the wedding photographer who sees himself as the second most important person at the wedding other than the bride herself. Many a harrowing tale told by a videographer stems from a bad relationship at a wedding between himself and the photographer. I have seen weddings ruined by un-professional antics from so-called “professional” photographers and that was long before we had DSLRs that could also produce HD video.

Video and stills are two separate disciplines though photography does teach you how to frame a shot, handle exposure and ISO which does give a good photographer a head start when learning video techniques.


Agency’s are now offering both stills and video to their clients but at a cost and this is the crux of the matter, the rate for video work has dropped because photographers see video as a bolt on, an extra revenue stream. Although video rates on the whole were not over the top the more people who enter the frame and drive these rates down offering similar packages for less the less work all round and this is proving itself within the wedding market. 2012 has been the quietest wedding year for many seasoned video professionals and that is due to photographers now offering video and part timers offering cheap DSLR video.

Newspapers are declining for the exact same scenario, most of us are now surfing our daily news and thanks to the recycle brigade won’t buy wasteful newspaper to end up in the blue bin on a daily basis. As a last-ditch news media in general are turning to the web both newspapers and television, advertisers see the web as a cheaper more interactive way to advertise and a well produced video on any web site is a major bonus to keeping someone surfing on your site a wee bit longer.

Now the important part of all this is “WELL PRODUCED VIDEO” this sets the men from the boys, well produced video needs skill, knowledge and time. If you had to choose between two GPs one just out of medical school and one 10 years out of medical school, 98% of us would choose GP number two, the same goes for video, it’s a time served craft.

VJs are the perfect example of one person trying to do two jobs, most of the time you get talking heads badly exposed and poor white balance, it’s all down to cost, television news is under pressure to cut costs and cut out a time served camera person and you save a wage at the cost of better framed, properly exposed shots.

The recession is an excuse for employers to offer more for less forgeting that by driving everything down to the lowest common denominator the pool becomes full of half baked jack of all trades producing poor work for half the cost…not a bright future !

So what is the future of newspapers in this digital age…I suspect they will become internet only with printing being withdrawn all together, after all the paper is produced digitally on a computer so the drive is for more people to sign up for the digital version.

Kodak, stuck in it’s old ways is the prime example of how digital can ruin a multi-billion dollar company in a matter of a few years !


Having been working in the video business since 1988 I have amassed a great amount of knowledge of both the kit and production values over the last 30 years.

3 thoughts on “As Newspaper sales decline they turn more to the web

  1. If you were talking to someone starting out now as a shooter / editor, what advice would you give them that might lead to a better chance of finding steady work or being in a part of the industry that is likely to hold its own?

  2. Good question…It’s always been hard even 20 years ago, you have to shine, show keenness and dedication. The problem today is lack of mentoring, we were at least taught the basics in house and were given gofer jobs till we understood not only the equipment but how to use it. The end game working for someone is not to disappoint. Bigger productions like drama should encourage more mentoring but time is money and having delt with so called producers on set they can be a balshy lot with little time for education.
    We have taken on trainees in the past but I am afraid we don’t have any slack nor do any of my colleagues a lot of them are self shooters and have no need for even a gofer.
    The BBC should address this being funded by the public purse but at the end of the day you just need to stick in at it and if you are good enough someone will notice your work.

  3. I professional Photographer I no showed some interest in the DSLR video craze. He soon changed his mind after pricing up the extras he would have to buy such as a new computer to be able to edit HD video, Software to edit with, decent tripod, lights, microphone, extra memory cards, shoulder rig etc etc. I’m not sure most photographers would want to buy all the extra kit that’s involved to shoot modest footage?

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