Best feature video 2017

Keep your journalism journalistic.

In the Excellence in Feature Video category, many entries struggled to be journalistic — but at least the first place winner hit the nail on the head.

The first glaring issues among entries was this: many entrants didn’t know the difference between news, feature and opinion videos.

Fortunately, the beauty of feature categories is they are more all-encompassing than news. So, if you didn’t know the difference between news and feature, you may have gotten lucky by submitting to the right place anyway. But for the entrants that submitted opinion videos, you’re out of luck. Stating an opinion as fact is bad journalism.

Since so many entries (in multiple categories) failed to understand the difference between news, feature, and opinion, I wrote up a blog post on how to determine each of these journalism facets — which should help when submitting for next year’s awards. Keep your eyes peeled for that after this award season is over.

On top of not submitting to the right category, what separated the winners from the losers was lack of clarity. Many of the entries buried the lede or failed to qualify it.

Take for example “Becoming the World’s Best DDR Player” by Polygon. Here’s one judge’s opinion on how the lack of journalism makes this piece lackluster:

“The potential is there with the access and the story but why did they languish on the journalism? Almost 90 seconds in and I have no idea why this story is important. The headline hasn’t been clarified, the thesis isn’t established. What’s the point here? Is this just an interview with the American DDR team at this tourney? Why should I care about this?”

Asking why we should care isn’t antagonistic (though I can’t speak for the judge); it’s important criticism for this journalist, and all journalists, to understand. When consulting the 5 W’s and the H (who, what, where, when, why, and how), the “why” is essential. Tell the audience why you’re talking about what you’re talking about. If you just dive into the details without setting up the “why” as the framework, you’ll potentially confuse your readers and lose their interest.

Another entry following a similar theme is “Female Esports Pros Hope To Close The Gender Gap” by Kotaku. That same judge had this critique:

“Good topic but the lede is buried to 02:10 when we see the non-hidden identity nonsense these women have to deal with. The piece itself misses that entirely and paints the story too broadly with LOOK AT THIS WOMEN TALK ABOUT BEING WOMEN and offering little context or journalism around that perspective.”

Takeaways:

  • Context is important
  • Putting the lede/nut front-and-center is important
  • Submitting entries to the correct categories is important

So, a few entries hit the mark in terms of not only submitting to the right place, but entering stories worthy of the “excellence” title. Check them out.


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