Dave’s blog: Circus without enough bread

I threw this video up on my YouTube channel a few weeks ago as an example of the kind of work I was doing at the Times Argus during the brief period when I was in charge of creating video for the paper.

To my surprise, it’s picked up a few dozen views without any kind of promotion. Circus Smirkus is a Vermont institution, but be sure, but it’s always surprising and a little touching to me that out in the great ocean of YouTube, a tiny little fish like this draws attention — especially as circus season is a long way off.

I like this video and it’s a reminder of what I was trying to do then. I’m guessing this was late spring in 2016. I had unimpressive equipment, and had to work quickly. As I recall, I traveled to Greensboro with reporter Stephen Mills, and we returned after about 2/3 of a day (and got chewed out for it). I shot quickly, ticking off items from a shot list rather than spending much time to make sure what I had was any good. I did quick interviews wherever we were standing, and shot photos for the print edition. No idea how much time I was able to summon for editing.

The result was a pretty good package for the paper, with a long story, multiple photos, video and local people represented, but it was already clear that the paper (and our sister paper, the Rutland Herald) simply weren’t able to devote time to video. The idea had been that people and reporters would shoot with their smartphones and we’d be able to keep a steady stream of content with little work or expense. But video takes work, and it didn’t work out that way. After one of the many reorganizations we were becoming accustomed to, management simply told me we were no longer doing video. I was told (nicely) to suck it up and devote my time to copy editing and managing the business section. Multimedia, hard to monetize, had little future for these papers.

It’s too bad. I thought the storytelling I was doing was pretty cool. Check out my YouTube channel for other newsy vids!

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