Good idea for sports: Journal-Register Co. will issue video cameras to all reporters

Rarely do you see newspapers taking drastic and ambitious steps in an era when one false move could bring down a publication for good. That's why it's so enlightening to see the Journal-Register Co. making major moves to advance and improve coverage provided by the company's 19 daily and 150 other newsapers.

As noted by the New Haven Independent (via the Editors Weblog), CEO John Patton told the company's 3,100 employees that they no longer work for a 'newspaper company', but a 'media company' instead.

“We’re not looking to make any cuts,” Paton said, clearly pumped about the prospect of inventing a new business model at a chain that had lagged behind the rest of the industry in adjusting to the digital age. “We need to improve [local coverage]. We don’t need to make it worse.”

Patton has some good ideas for improving the quality of coverage, one of the best is that all reporters at the company will have Flip HD video cameras within 30 days. This, I think, is something every newspaper should adopt, even if it means purchasing one for every three reporters—having them checked out when necessary. Sports sections would appear to benefit as much as any part of the newspaper.

While images and audio are better than providing print copy alone, video brings content to a completely new level. Of course, there are certain restrictions with where video is allowed (locker rooms, etc), but in any situation where it can be used, it almost always should.

As I believe I've done in the past, I'm quick to point to the work Lakers in-house reporter Mike Trudell. I understand there are several other reporters who have taken advantage of technology, but it's interesting to see with one of most popular sports teams in the world. Take a look at this example, where Kobe discusses becoming the team's leading scorer: 



Pretty cool. While slightly less refined, this type of content gives a more accurate look than the few quotes tossed into gamers written by those holding up audio recorders in that video. Imagine this type of look for every single story offered by a newspaper. Very powerful.