Wall Street Journal rolls out video network powered by smartphone-toting journalists

WSJ.com | WSJ news release
Since news organizations are paying all that money for journalists to carry around iPhones, why not put them to better use?

The WorldStream page updates live as new clips come in every few minutes.

The Wall Street Journal is launching a new streaming-video product that does just that. The Journal today announced WorldStream, which will “consist solely of footage captured on smartphones by Dow Jones and Journal reporters and editors … Each video is under a minute, and all footage is reviewed by an editor before being posted to the stream.”

The Journal’s online video effort until now focused on WSJ Live’s TV-news-style video segments with anchors and on-screen graphics. WorldStream complements that with simple, short video reports. Early examples include serious content like Charles Levinson’s first-hand footage from Syria, but also simple clips like unnarrated footage of the empty media room before the Republican National Convention in Tampa.

Much of the content is more like a video “status update” than a “news report” — it’s just a reporter expressing, “Here’s where I am, here’s what I’m seeing.”

WorldStream is also optimized for the social media era, Director of Social Media and Engagement Liz Heron told me. After uploading a video, Journal reporters tweet it using the #WorldStream hashtag. These short, real-time reports are perfect for consuming through a short, real-time medium (Twitter), Heron said.

That has the beneficial side effect of getting all the Journal reporters with iPhones to join and learn Twitter, she said, making WorldStream “an extension of that more personal connection readers now have to our reporters.

In some ways, WorldStream is the WSJ’s answer to CNN’s iReport network of citizen journalists. Both are about delivering quick, raw reports from news events around the world. But, WSJ Digital Network Managing Editor Raju Narisetti tells me, don’t expect to see the Journal letting just anyone post videos on WorldStream. “We believe there is a delicate balance between quality, speed, breadth and most importantly, vetted content from trained journalists.” (Emphasis mine.)

Narisetti said the thinking behind WorldStream is that audiences want multimedia and have an appetite for instantaneous “raw” video, not just highly produced TV-like formats. And advertisers “are willing to pay premiums” to reach that audience via video ads.

The Journal isn’t the only one aiming for that audience. The New York Times also launched a rebuilt Web video player today, with a larger video display area and compatibility across all types of devices. And The Huffington Post recently launched HuffPost Live, a new streaming video channel.

Earlier: WSJ expands video production for iPad audience (Poynter).

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