September 15, 2016
By Andy Pergam, Head of Video
Two years ago, when we started on a journey to build a team to help tie together the video efforts across McClatchy newsrooms, it was a different time: Video on Facebook meant an embedded player. Live video was cumbersome to produce, with tools like Periscope not yet launched. And video that autostarted as your page loaded was far from widely accepted.
Across McClatchy’s newsrooms at the time, video took on different shapes and forms without a clear focal point, a reliable business strategy or a dedicated, monetizable player.
We’ve also learned—or reaffirmed—some important things:
1. Video is a team sport.
Yes, it often can be a lone videojournalist in a far-flung corner of the country with an eye through their viewfinder. But the work we do is only enhanced by collaborators. It could be an editor helping to shape a new style of video storytelling, or it could be a deep reporting partnership between a newsroom and journalists on a central team. It’s become ever more apparent that for our efforts to succeed, we need all hands on deck.
2. A network amplifies great work.
Similarly, we do great work in our markets, but a network helps the work find a broader audience. Beyond sharing actual videos, it’s equally important to share concepts, knowledge and connections. We recognize the value in remaining connected in meaningful ways, throughout the company and the industry.
3. Experiment, with purpose.
It’s critical that as we move ahead, we leave room for off-the-wall thinking. We have to be on new platforms to understand how they work. We have to prototype a new series and launch it, in order to improve it. We have to engage with our audience to continue to deliver something of value. And we have to do all those things with a clear intent of feeding those learnings back into our newsrooms in the shape of products, tools and tactics.
Fast-forward (can you still say that?) to today.
With The Video Lab, we’re focusing on our dual-track mission: to support our markets in advancing videos, and to reach new audiences, on our sites and off.
Over these two years, we’ve dug the hole and poured the foundation. We’ve set forth a vision for video that helps illustrate stories. We’ve empowered editors across the company to direct efforts in their newsrooms and guided business leaders throughout the company in selling video advertising with greater results.
McClatchy is a very different company now. We’ve exceeded our video audience and revenue expectations. We’ve intentionally kept our heads down and our faces out of the spotlight. This has been and will continue to be about the people who tell stories, the communities we support and the audience for our work.
So, now what?
Our success has made us only hungrier and more ambitious. Our aim isn’t to improve video alone—it’s to improve storytelling, with video as the tip of the spear. Our beliefs, inspired by what we’ve learned, are equally clear:
So, onward we climb.
We’ve spent the last few months planning for even bigger things ahead. We’ll announce those in due time. But if the last two years have brought incredible change to our company, the next two will bring exponentially more.
In the meantime, if you think you’re destined to join us in creating something, take a look at our current job postings. Don’t see one with your name on it, but still want to be a part of it? We’d like to hear from you, too.