Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Video Only News

by Bill Holmes

Is it just me that is concerned and maybe bothered by this?  More and more news and information stories on the Internet are only in the form of video clips.  Don't get me wrong, video certainly has it's place.  Some stories can only be accurately told via pictures and video.  Those very important cute baby, adorable kitten or jackass clips are a perfect example.  There are also many stories however that can accurately and adequately be told with words and should be.

I grew up as a reader.  I've read since before I went to school, so I'm probably prejudiced.  Mom and Dad both encouraged me and led by example.  We always had the morning and afternoon papers delivered.  Yes folks many towns and all cities had different newspapers published in the morning and afternoon, often more than one of each.  I still read the local paper every day and subscribe to a few magazines.  Being an only child I also read books maybe because there weren't siblings to play with or bother me.  I  lived in a very quiet house growing up.  I have also been a multitasker for most of my life.  Maybe it's just ADD or ADHD.  I've almost always read something while watching TV or listening to music.  I'm sure it slows down the reading a little and I probably miss something here and there on TV.  I've also been know to add another TV, radio or computer into the mix.  On balance I think it's more efficient.  Even if it's not it's what I've always done and I'm too old to change now.  Of course I'm writing this while watching the Tour de France recap on TV.

The reason I'm bothered by video only news and information is that you can usually only do one at a time.  How the hell can I watch something on TV that needs audio (sports often don't) or listen to music and watch a video only news/information clip?  I gotta turn the sound off on something.  In a perfect world I could consume a sporting event (or two) on TV, some music on the radio, internet or MP3 player and read something.

Even more devious are the internet articles that appear to be something that can be read but morph into a video clip.  They have a paragraph or two of introduction with teases and no information but the real meat of the story is in a video.

Here's my plan, put an icon on the article that indicates video/audio, video/audio & text or text only.  Some sites do a fairly good job of this but many do not.  Then I can choose if and when I want to read or watch.  More importantly, if the video is just a talking head reading or reporting the news how about transcribing it so I don't have to watch an often incompetent reporter babble.

Not an earth shattering problem, just a wish for a slight improvement.  I don't hold out any hope that this idea will take hold.  I'm sure that in the next few years very few people will actually be able to read and everything will be communicated by visual/audio means and not by text.

Better be careful, Google Voice and Siri are probably listening.



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