Tiso Blackstar Group, the publisher of the Sunday Times, TimesLIVE, Sowetan, Business Day and more, has been awarded YouTube innovation funding from the Google News Initiative (GNI), which aims to promote new ideas and strengthen newsrooms’ digital video skills around the world.
87 news organisations in 23 countries had by the end of last year successfully bidded for the funding, which will be applied throughout 2019. Only two of those were from SA.
Tiso Blackstar Group plans to use the funds to improve the multimedia skills of staff across its newsrooms, including specialist training for multimedia producers, and to prioritise a year-long investigative video reporting project.
The latter will include exploring new video journalism formats and techniques.
“Together with our award-winning journalists at the Sunday Times, we will produce a high-quality, in-depth investigative video journalism series.
“The funding gives our teams the chance to explore alternative storytelling methods and allows us to improve the skills of journalists who have never delved into multimedia journalism before,” said Tiso Blackstar Group’s head of video content, Amanda Moore.
“Equipment is expensive. Training people is expensive and takes time. Producing quality videos takes time. This funding means that we can invest not only in producing the kind of multimedia journalism that our country deserves, but also in our staff members, which is something you can’t put a price on.”
Other organisations that were successful in their bid for the funding include Germany’s Der Spiegel; The Guardian and the Financial Times in the UK; and The New York Times, The Washington Post and Bloomberg in the US. Each news outlet’s innovation project has a different focus depending on the needs of the organisation and the region.
In a statement on its website, the GNI said it would publicise some of the projects to demonstrate how “our partners across the globe push the boundaries of video journalism”.
“We’ve got the talent. Now, with equipment and training, we can nurture that talent to produce the content that South Africans need,” added Moore. ~ By Jessica Levitt
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