On cats and newsrooms

Melissa Worden has a nice post on the Multimedia News Producers Workshop in Minneapolis.

Someone put together a funny video about newsroom training being similar to training cats to fetch. Since herding them didn’t work, maybe teaching them to fetch will? I have to agree that training about “that Internet” is a lot of like teaching cats to fetch. We had a senior editor bail out of a training session last week after five minutes. (sigh)

Worden makes the point that we have to figure out how to make training fun like Kate McGinty taking the multimedia plunge. But watch the training cats video. It’s great.

She also posted this great guide that was presented at the workshop on rating video stories and the time they can consume. I need to circulate this one around my newsroom.

>> One star: Raw video, recorded for no more than 45 seconds. The final product has no editing or titles. Production time: 1-2 hours, which includes shooting, ingestion, formatting and posting.

>> Two star: Very rough cut video. Two to four cuts in a short video with limited titles. Production time: 2-4 hours, which includes shooting, ingestion, formatting and posting.

>> Three star: Project is shot, edited and posted the same day. Includes 1-3 brief interviews (A roll) with other shots (B roll). Titles are used as intro and to introduce people. Production time: 4-6 hours, which includes shooting, ingestion, formatting and posting.

>> Four star: Often supplements in-depth enterprise stories. Video may contain several interviews and voiceovers or on-camera reporter interviews. Production time: May take several days to complete, which includes shooting, ingestion, formatting and posting.


  1. As a former trainer, I can attest to the difficulty of training a reluctant (or even hostile) audience. Making the subject fun is certainly part of it, but something else in the cat video stood out for me: the final object which proved successful was small enough for the cat to carry in its mouth.
    In other words, the audience should only be given as much as they’re ready for at any given time, and not a bit more.
    No matter how hard we try to convince others that technology is fun or cool, a lot of people simply won’t accept that idea until they’ve been shown specifically how it can make their lives easier.
    As a trainer, one of my favorite approaches was to appeal to people’s laziness, but in a positive, constructive way. Show them a way to do something in 10 seconds rather than 10 minutes, and you’ll have converts by the truckload. My tagline in class for this approach was, “I’m going to do this the easy way, because I’m lazy, and, frankly, I’d rather be drinking beer.”
    Show them how technnology will help them get to their tee times earlier, and you’ll have their rapt attention.

  2. That’s a great one, Russ.
    I believe your answered the “What’s in it for me” question.
    I admire anyone with the patience to do training. It can be tough.

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