News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Max Jones

June 27, 2011

MAX JONES: Ready, action! Video lets us tell even better stories

TERRE HAUTE — Those of you who make the Tribune-Star’s online edition part of your reading routine — and there are approximately 40,000 of you each week who do so — have been treated recently to an enhanced feature on our website.

Video, the communications device once solely in the broadcast media’s toolbox, is quickly becoming a major part of our online presentation. We’ve known how to use video to tell stories for a long time (it’s not that difficult), but because of our sharp focus on producing the daily print publication, we haven’t often employed the tool.

That’s changing, largely because online and mobile editions are becoming more integral parts of the news operation, and making use of all the tools available to serve a large and diverse audience is the right thing to do for our faithful readers.

We set out to increase the frequency of multimedia presentations in early May. Our staff has been posting videos at a rapid pace ever since. I count more than 20 on the T-S website right now, and at least two more are planned for coming days. (See our Multimedia section on the main page at Tribstar.com.)

Among my favorites so far are pieces by photographers Jim Avelis and Rachel Keyes, and reporters Lisa Trigg and Craig Pearson.

Jim’s video captured the amusing action at a May 6 downtown event that was part of the city’s Indianapolis 500 promotional efforts. Rachel has done several exceptional videos, including one that accompanied our feature coverage of longtime Indy 500 fan Joe Claretto’s ride around the track with racing legend Mario Andretti.

Lisa has been our most prolific producer of video, including one that featured a Collett Park homeowner’s harrowing story the morning after a vicious May storm landed a large tree on his house. In addition to grabbing her notebook to gather news for the print edition, she took the newsroom’s new Flip camera and returned with compelling video for the website.

Craig has been producing video and audio reports to accompany his sports blog for a while now. The action he captured of a high school pole vaulter setting a school record last spring was among his best.

None of these video clips is lengthy. The longest is less than five minutes. Most are less than two and half minutes. They aren’t intended to tell the whole story. Rather, they add a dimension to the stories we tell in print and with still photography.

Video will always be secondary to what we do. But it is a useful tool that allows us to tell better stories.

If you haven’t done so, take a look. Tell us what you think.

I I I

A reminder: The Tribune-Star will publish a special section in Thursday’s newspaper that features the story of Terre Haute’s unique role in Civil War history. The narrative is written by Mike McCormick, a local attorney and Vigo County historian.

Mike’s research and writing are exceptional and it has been a privilege to partner with him for this endeavor.

Max Jones can be reached at (812) 231-4336, or by e-mail at max.jones@tribstar.com.

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