If all news is local, how can broadcast newsrooms meet the need for video footage when their resources are limited?
Lindsay Stewart worked as a producer for ABC News in the LA newsroom and noticed that, more and more often, she’d be asked to create a segment on a story and would be hard-pressed to find enough footage, or of the right quality, to cover the item.
This was in the earlier days of social media, which made more clips available, but it also meant more newsrooms accessing the same viral footage and racing — and bidding — for rights to use it.
“I thought there had to be a better way. I wished there was a system in which I could request a video I wanted or I could request more video and that there was a clearinghouse that made it less block-and-tackle in terms of finding the videographer, clearing the clip, and coming up with a price that was fair for all,” she says. “Some people are willing to give away their tornado clip and some thought it was worth $100,000, neither of which were particularly fair.”
Stewart decided to co-found her own solution.
Stringr now has more than 120,000 videographers around the U.S. with varying degrees of availability and expertise, plus the ability to provide and distribute breaking news footage and video that has a longer shelf life for newsrooms, advertising agencies, and is in the process of producing full features.
“We have gradations of providers from what we call Stringr Crowd, which is run-and-gun breaking news, all the way up to full professionals that shoot very high-end videos not just for news but other kinds of customers,” Stewart says. “What we’ve also established now is a robust technological platform, which is from end-to-end, every part of the life cycle of creating a video, not just at the sourcing side of it but all the way through editing, transcription, publishing. We do now live and taped and we even put the technology in the hands of some customers.”
This not only allows broadcast newsrooms to find spot news footage they need for their main stories of the day, but it also to increases the corps of videographers by submitting a request for work to the platform, finding a videographer who can provide it, and working out the price of the video directly from the Stringr app.
It also helps meet the needs of even the largest news companies, when breaking news happens but there isn’t enough time to send a crew to the location. While the Los Angeles bureaus are well-staffed, for example, the media coverage area extends to San Diego, more than 90 minutes away.
The videographers who work on Stringr “allow them to capture video where they can’t or don’t have enough time to send their own people,” Stewart says.
It’s All Journalism producer Michael O’Connell talks to Lindsay Stewart, a former broadcast news producer-turned-entrepreneur, about Stringr, which allows newsrooms to access a network of 120,000 videographers to help cover the news of the day and beyond.