Don't Forget to Add a Dash of Video to Your Election Coverage Recipe

Feb 13, 2012

Think back to recent presidential caucuses, primaries, conventions, general elections and inaugurations. What sticks out as the most poignant memories? I bet there's an over-the-top hurrah. A concession speech. A convention speech. A rousing debut.

There's a common thread here --  imagery. Visuals -- especially video -- are a major part of election coverage. But video often becomes an afterthought because between producing a radio piece, updating your Web site and posting to social accounts, there's not much time left to shoot and edit a video. You barely have a free moment to scarf down election night pizza.

But there’s a way to provide timely and useful election (and breaking news) videos for your audience without dropping everything else. 

Create a video post in five minutes

YouTube is one of the premiere sources for cat videos and epic fails. But it’s also a great tool for up-to-the-minute news videos.

Let’s say, for example, that it’s primary night in Florida and Mitt Romney finished his victory speech a few minutes ago. Head on over to YouTube and search “Romney” or “Romney Florida.” Filter the search to show the most recent videos and find what you're looking for. You should also search for videos in Google, as well as sites such as C-SPAN and  Vimeo.

When you find the video of Romney delivering his victory speech, create a post with a headline such as Mitt Romney’s Florida primary victory speech (video). Add some introduction text to add context and link to more primary coverage and then embed the YouTube video into the post. Then publish it out. Simple. Now you’ve added a video element to your election coverage in about five minutes. Don't forget about copyright when using YouTube content. Here's one resource on fair use and YouTube.

Create even more video content

Once you have that quick-video-post technique down pat, think about ways you can add even more visual components to your coverage. For example, you could create a post with all of the candidates’ post-election speeches with the headline Candidate speeches after Florida primary (videos). Then just embed videos for all of the candidates. If you’re feeling really ambitious, you can create a video slideshow using Storify.

Here’s a perfect example of the quick-and-easy video approach from WBUR.

Not just for elections

I’ve only mentioned how you can build a video strategy into election coverage, but this approach can be used in everyday reporting, including breaking news.

Here are some great non-election examples:

KUT: Video: Occupy Austin Arrests

Wired: Video: Hurricane Irene’s Birth, Death Seen From Space

The Washington Post: Videos: Tornadoes tear through South

The Huffington Post: Hurricane Irene Videos: Bahamas Battered By Storm's Wrath

So the next election related event -- or breaking news event -- think about adding a video post that will give your coverage a visual kick.

Core Publisher Note

Embedding videos in Core Publisher is easy -- here’s a screencast on how it’s done.