Congratulations to The Guardian, winners of this year’s Best Use of Video
The Elevator Pitch
In 2015-16 the Guardian has broken new ground in meaningful online video. Our most impactful video, ‘We Walk Together’, captured a historic moment for Europe: representing online video journalism at its best and most pure - there are no other forums where a news event could be covered in such an immediate, intimate and unmediated way, showing what can be done by one person with a video camera throwing themselves into live spontaneous events. Meanwhile, our ’dab’ strand on Facebook has delivered core Guardian journalism in a purely digital way and informed by audience data, averaging 1.5m views per film.
Set The Scene
Online news video has been a focus for most of our global journalism competitors, and it has been important to define what makes us different. A small team has produced quality work across key areas – news, documentary, comment, culture and sport, designing the right content for the right platform, e.g. dab videos are specifically designed for Facebook consumption, including silent viewing. Videos are made in house by an experienced team, or external video-makers are commissioned where access is strong, with decisions made quickly on following key stories, and giving resulting films prominence on and off Guardian platforms.
Tell Us The Story
In August 2015, John Domokos made We Walk Together - several thousand refugees were sleeping outside Budapest’s Keleti train station. Then something remarkable happened: they got up and started walking. John Domokos set off with them. The global media machine was there in force, covering the march as another news spectacle. John knew there was something special happening, and that he had to make something different, get close to the people. John walked every step of the way with them, sharing their food and clothing, sleeping outside with them, meeting a host of compelling characters along the way.
John carried his camera kit all the way, filming all day, all night, through the following day and evening. He used a combination of observational documentary film making, and personal participation (by necessity), building a relationship with the characters. This closeness allowed John to capture the moments of humour, camaraderie and tenderness rare in news coverage, particularly of refugees.
The dab strand was conceived in January 2016 as our first video series designed specifically for Facebook (mobile). A team of 3 have produced 3 films per week, all under 2 minutes long, and using on screen text and a combination of stills and moving image to turn around the films in a matter of hours. Designed to be viewed without sound on where necessary (reflecting Facebook video viewing), a new social video format has been developed that has core Guardian values at heart but feels like something completely new, reaching a fresh audience.
We Walk Together almost single handedly put the Guardian in a position of respect for our coverage of refugees. When the majority of the media, even when positive, was portraying refugees in a dehumanised way, We Walk Together offered an alternative narrative of compassion. Its impact reverberates across the Guardian’s ongoing coverage of refugees, and the film was used as the inspiration behind ‘We Stand Together’ - the campaign for the Guardian’s refugee appeal, which went on to raise a record £2.5 million. The film has been viewed over a million times and filmmakers continue to offer us their best and responsible migration stories. Dab has involved 37 films being released so far, with total video starts of 53m and an average of 1.5m per film – this size of audience for quality short video has brought us to a new audience, larger than we could currently expect on platform.