Tim Russert’s death consumed a significant amount of my attention this weekend. I was saddened because I really liked him personally, even though only knew him via his work at NBC. More important, a big part of the reason I liked him, is that he educated me. He gave me insights that I couldn’t get anywhere else.
Now that he’s gone, I’m wondering who will take his place on TV. And I’m wondering why there’s no Tim Russert on the Web yet. Why hasn’t the web platform evolved to a place where compelling and smart video coverage of important people and issues is the norm?
Yes, you can indeed see Meet The Press online, and CNN shows lots of clips on the web. But these are broadcast properties being delivered over the web. There is really precious little web native video journalism – be it about politics, tech, or other subjects.
The web is full of blogs, bloggers, and text. And there is an emerging platform for audio journalism through things like the Gilmor Gang and This Week In Tech. But where are the important video discussions? Yes there are lots of people looking into a webcam and talking. But there is little that really leverages what should be possible, using off-the-shelf Internet technology, webcams, and a bit of production polish.
Indeed some may argue that companies like Revision3 are at the cutting edge of this new revolution. But this is not about one or two companies or shows. It’s about how we evolve the overall web platform towards making video a first class citizen of the blogosphere debate culture.
For example, I’d love to see the emergence of web-based panel-type shows with a moderator, where you could actually see the participants, each likely in a separate webcam-enabled location. This type of show has become a staple of broadcast news and information programming. And the technology is now there, through something like Mogulus, to produce such shows with the rough look of something you might see on broadcast.
The ability to pull people across the world into live, moderated video conversation is a big part of what TV currently does so well, and I’d love to see more of it on the web. Seeing how someone responds, what they look like, and what their interaction looks like is hugely valuable to making assessments. Imagine, for example, if we only had raw text or stump speeches to judge our presidential nominees.
The fact that the creator of modern political video journalism has passed is a terribly sad event. But I am hoping that the focus on his passing can at least help us to envision how we can use the web for the next phase of video journalism. There is no silver lining here, but perhaps, at least, a tad of inspiration.
SAI Contributor Hank Williams is a New York-based entrepreneur. The original version of this post appeared on his blog: Why Does Everything Suck? Exploring the tech marketplace from 10,000 feet.,
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