Thursday, June 4, 2009

Backpacking at Poynter

By Juan López

What if Scottie Pippen had hit “the shot” over Cleveland’s Craig Ehlo in the first round of the 1989 playoffs?

With new video editing programs, it’s easy to edit out Michael Jordan’s frame and replace him with Pippen. Scary, right?

Wednesday at the Poynter Institute, the Sports Journalism Institute sat in on one of the sessions of the Backpack Journalist program and learned about some of these new technologies.

Poynter Broadcast/Online Group Leader Al Tompkins directed the instructional period, showcasing programs that ranged from making video blogs in a matter of minutes to broadcasting live video.

The two main items that grasped my attention were video and audio programs, both of which allowed users to edit out whatever they wanted.

In the video program, Tompkins showed how the software could edit out a street post from a shot as if it were never there. He did the same with the audio program, editing out sounds so the clip cold focus in on the speaker.

This sounds great and the advances technology has made are incredible, but I’m very skeptical.

Video clips and sound bytes used to be the defining truth. We would be able to see or hear if something was true or not. But with these programs, how will we differentiate?

We’ve all been witnesses to what a person can do with Photoshop. Now that type of editing is available to all other forms of communication.

It’s made me think about how news gathering and sharing information is going through fundamental changes.

Professional journalists have told me reporting is about being accurate and a storyteller. These lead to credibility, which is what everyone in the business wants to achieve.

But how is one supposed to achieve credibility when one video can become thousands in a matter of days?

We’re embarking on a new era that’s changing the principles of journalism, and these editing programs are just the tip of the iceberg.

What’s next, editing live video?

I wouldn’t be surprised.

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