CNN, USA Today and the terraniche media on niche science video sites

What do you think about the distinction of mainstream – niche on the web? Isn’t it the case that ‘mainstream media’ is just a niche after all, and not necessarily the most important?

We have a very nice case study now on how ideas, memes, actions, movements in the science/tech arena are spreading throughout the web: science video sites like JoVE, Labaction, SciVee were first embraced by the more and more muscular science blogosphere followed by a broader science/tech media coverage like Wired, The Scientist and finally reached CNN, USA Today today via the same Associated Press story by Alicia Chang (I am looking forward to a presidential debate on how to make and publish good science videos online):

CNN: Scientists make videos for the Web

USA Today: Niche sites spread science on the Web

Seattle Times: Video-sharing Web sites let scientists show off experiments, make science more accessible

From the story:

Researchers who are uploading their experiments and lectures online are discovering filmmaking is more art than science. If the narrators are boring or the image is shaky, viewers will quickly learn to click elsewhere…

“We need to show our experiments, and ‘show’ in our age means video,” Pritsker said.

Some experts say the biggest advantage to science videos is making research more accessible to nonscientists. There’s no guarantee that video can’t be manipulated, but the medium also may force scientists to think twice before committing fraud.

“It’s one thing to put your name on a fake paper and it’s another to make a fake video that your friends and family could watch,” said John B. Horrigan, associate director for research at the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

Last year, Horrigan authored a study that found more than half the people who seek science information online want to hear it from the original source.

Translating the experiments to video won’t be without challenges. Chief among them is attracting enough Web traffic to make the sites profitable.

Thanks for the tip, Moshe.

Science videos on Pimm:

Wired on the emerging science video websites: see one, do one, teach one new player on the science video niche market

Biological Video Protocols on JoVE: Online Journal of Visualized Experiments

Science: video protocols can help to share the tacit dimension

3 thoughts on “CNN, USA Today and the terraniche media on niche science video sites

  1. You’re right that video is a more expressive medium than text, but that works both for and against the science. Video puts more emphasis on the presenter, and less on what’s being presented, which is kinda the opposite of what good science reporting should do. I do think there’s a niche for video. To bring science education to the mainstream is a great application of video, for example. In those situations, you often need a strong and charismatic personality to spark interest. For scientist-scientist communication, though, it’s less compelling.

    There’s also the problem of accessibility of the content. Blind people can’t view it, deaf people can’t hear it(and there’s often no transcript), and no one can easily skim through it.

  2. Not surprisingly, I dont’ quite agree with Mr. Gunn. Good video is about the content, the presenter an afterthought, although the number of gal tech news videoblogs would suggest otherwise. While I consume text voraciously, I think video provides opportunities for creativity that is difficult with text. It’s one reason screencasting is more effective than text-based manuals, and while watching a Google Tech Talk on MapReduce is more interesting than reading the paper (which makes a great followup). In the end text, video, audio are all forms of narrative and each has its place in making the narrative more effective. We’re still learning how to make good use of the tools available.

    The biggest problem with online video is skimming and transcripts, but those are technological issues and will be resolved in due time (very soon in fact).

  3. Helping my many students, especially these two special ones, has created my expertise in the field and moved it into the classroom. We have learned many new technologies and strategies very useful over our two years of working together.

    Teaching TV Production, building a small-town program into a nationally recognized one. My students won over forty-five awards, including the National Association for Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) Student Award of Excellence, the equivalent to a high school Emmy.

    All of this has taught me one thing that video is the here to stay, and if you learn the correct steps of video production you to can look like a professional, in a very short time. I am a long-time video professional for over twenty-five years, I seen it all, and there are many new technologies that are in use today, but passion about creating the right look and feel are still the driving force behind great video production.

    Happy Videoing,


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