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HD Today: Beyond the Blogosphere
Posted Apr 24, 2007 Print Version     Page 1of 1

I was recently invited to blog for a website whose product reviews I had long read and appreciated for their thoroughness. I had never had the opportunity to be involved so deeply in something so immediate. I approached it at first carefully, then with gusto. But I quickly grew weary because the process itself was empty.

In contrast to this magazine, where products get reviewed, software gets explained, columnists share experiences, and more, the blog I worked on focused on the latest industry news. The goal was to jump on appropriate news, boil it down, spit it out, and include a relevant image. The blog might tell you that EventDV has a review of the Datavideo chroma keyer. But the blog would not actually provide a review. Too detailed, and too long.

Yes, magazines do cover news and press releases, but with the lead time of print, it is "old news" by the time it hits the streets. A magazine's value is original content. The blogs compete against each other, trying to be the first to tell their readers about that original content—located someplace else. Or they try to find original content that other blogs haven't found. Or they try to put their own unique spin on the original content through witty comments. Some go so far as to offer serious commentary, or contrast several different related items.

When you get down to comparing and contrasting several different items, blogging takes considerably longer, which inevitably undermines its immediacy. Posts require scrolling down the page at least a couple of times. And the time it takes to create true, worthwhile content is far longer than it takes to regurgitate the latest Digital Media Net news release with a witty comment and an image. In fact, in my searches I've found several online articles that aren't about news at all—just comments on other blogs. There was one blogger who wrote a nasty rant about how mindless his readers are, so desperate for the latest little tidbit about or picture of the shiniest new toy. Other blogs covered this former blogger's blog about blogging.

CNET News covered YouTube video bloggers at a convention for themselves, where they did little but shoot video blogs about themselves. Is it news to blog that bloggers blogged about bloggers blogging? I don't really know, but I wrote an article about it for a blog I was working on, and the editor published it. The cycle continues. At what point do we ask ourselves, "What's the point?" For me it was 10 days.

All this while, I continued to read magazines, including EventDV, and I came to respect how valuable truly original content is. To be able to learn details, processes, and information directly from other people who have the time and skills to test, compare, and critically report is far more enlightening than scouring the web for the absolute latest titillating kernel of whatnot.

Tutorial series like we have been running in EventDV are like classes that you can take at your own pace, training that comes to you and that you can use in your studio. If it were on a DVD with a textbook, it would cost you as much as $100. But here's this magazine that comes to you, fits in your laptop bag, and you can take with you to read later. How convenient is that?

It is a great irony—one that is not lost on me—that this column will be in our NAB issue. NAB is an event specifically geared for the absolute latest and greatest PR—yet very little of that industry news (just a few tidbits of what was made available under NDA) will be reflected in the "show" issue, and whatever else we cover won't show up in print until a month or two after the fact.

But reporting news you can read right away in lots of other places (including our website, www.eventdv.net) isn't really what this magazine is about, and NAB is about far more than press releases: critical conferences, seminal seminars, and gobs of gear—the single-largest collection of video industry-related gear in one space at one time. For those who need a hands-on with a specific tool and need to speak directly with those who understand it best, NAB is as far from a blog as you can get.

NAB is not a blurb. It is not an article. It is not a seminar. It is a direct dialogue that leads to answers. Whether that dialogue will be between your hands and the controls of a particular automated crane, between you and the engineer behind a product you think will solve your most pressing problem, or between you and several people from around the world who attended the same conference, it will get you credible answers you won't get from a press release or an industry blog.

One step back from NAB will be the magazines—riffling through the reams of news releases, sifting through the sound bites of seminars, and deliberately providing the clarity of purpose that comes with time and distance. A magazine is not a blog, and I, for one, am grateful for that, both as a writer and as a reader.

I hope you are too. In each magazine is a subscription card. Give it to a colleague that you feel would be interested in what we provide every month. Pass along an old issue that has an article from which they may benefit. Yes, in a way, you would be doing the unoriginal work of many blogs, just providing signposts to content created by others. But when it is person-to-person, the dialog that ensues can enrich both of you far more than a few paragraphs and a small image online.

Anthony Burokas of IEBA Communications is a Philadelphia-based event videographer and TV producer.

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