Wick Communications

The power of video

In Online media on 3 Jun 2011 at 5:32 am

Last weekend and into this week, the story of loss in the Midwest moved to Pierre and Fort Pierre, both places served capably by Wick’s Capital Journal. The spring thaw coupled with rain conspired to overwhelm any management plan for the Missouri River. Consequently, the Oahe Dam proved insufficient and authorities began to release water that would rush into the basin and flood South Dakota’s capital city.

Obviously, the Capital Journal was there. In fact, it’s right in the middle of it. And reporters brought video to the job.

Heather Mangan and Ruth Brown shot video while on the governor’s driving tour of the flooding in Pierre. In another, Heather showed efforts to save an historic school house and Girl Scout cabin. A third – perhaps the most powerful — included a short interview with one resident who talked of his despair over the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ decision to increase water releases from the dam.

All of that could have been told with words in the newspaper and on the Internet, but in a story like this, video is a powerful tool. …

Heather’s voiceover work is really wonderful. It’s very professional and the sound is calibrated so that you can actually hear her. The videos are also short, most are 30 seconds or so. That is perfect. Long videos invariably lose impatient viewers.

How bad are things? Gov. Dennis Daugaard issued a release asking whether anyone in Pierre had a heavy-duty bulldozer and knew how to use it. He even suspended the requirement that truck drivers carry a commercial license, assuring that everybody and anybody could help.

The worst is yet to come. The Corps expects to release even more water from the dam over the next few days.

The Capital Journal staff has had some help from the fine digital folks in Sierra Vista, and I believe they have another reporter rushing to the scene to help with what is a 24-7 story. Take a look at the fabulous work going on there.


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