After 20 years of covering the latest technology developments for IT pros, InformationWeek veteran John Soat is using web-based video to change the way news is gathered and delivered.
His current project is serving as anchor of The News Show, a
b-to-b news program that combines segments from its 20 correspondents with interactive content sent in by viewers. The News Show runs daily for six to eight minutes on the homepages of InformationWeek, Network Computing, and TechWeb.
PRWeek: What is the editorial mission of The News Show?
John Soat: Our intention in launching was twofold: One was to have a video product that we could offer our readership. We feel that the video medium is very important now and will be even more so in the future. The second was to bring something a little exciting, a little different to tech journalism, something deliberately less polished, a little more off the cuff, a bit more entertaining than what you've seen in the past. We are very interested in this being a cooperative effort with the audience.
PRWeek: How has the mainstream media been using internet video?
Soat: There's been a great deal of catch-up. We've seen CNN and CBS in particular make big strategic moves toward the internet. But there's a lot of built-in television bias. Mostly, what I see are people recreating television. I see interviews. I see product reviews. It lookslike TV. We don't look at The News Show as being TV. We're trying to do internet video - something that is more involving, quicker, not so staid, more entertaining. We're trying to exploit the interactivity and the immediacy of the internet in our video product.
PRWeek: Can you give some examples of how you're taking advantage of the interactivity?
Soat: We've tried in a lot of ways. The first and the easiest, of course, is [to solicit] e-mail from viewers: "Could you send in an e-mail? Just let me know what you like about the show, what you don't like, what we should do more of, what we should do less of?" That kind of thing. We've tried to solicit video from viewers and haven't been very successful up until now, but I feel it's only a matter of time before people get more comfortable with the video medium, the whole idea of citizen journalism. People are using cell [phones with digital] cameras more and more these days; we're going to be able to exploit that going forward.
PRWeek: What does this new form mean for PR pros?
Soat: It's something they have to deal with and think about. It's different from print; it's different from radio. Video blogging is the next turn of the blogging and podcasting wheel. It's something PR people have to figure into their plans; it's something they have to get their clients working on. They have to realize that this is a medium that people will be turning to more and more.
PRWeek: Are PR professionals equipped to take advantage of this medium?
Soat: My experience has been that PR people are generally very excited about it. But it's not something that figures into their planning in a big way. It's so new that while they're excited, they are probably not equipped [to take advantage of it], and a lot of clients aren't.