This month, NBCUniversal has launched a new digital video operation and website called NBC Left Field.
The new site features digital content, mainly videos, all done in the VJ style and method with a small staff of VJs, social media experts and photographers from around the world. The work is similar to that of CNN's Great Big Story: small stories told through video about characters. This move shows pressure that other operations, like Great Big Story, Tasty, NowThis, and others have put on America's oldest broadcaster to try and catch up in the world of digital media and journalism for the 21st Century.
The arrival of NBC Left Field shows the direction the big media companies see the media landscape shifting to, that is to say videos on the web. This is the kind of content that is highly consumable on the web, is cheap to produce, and compelling. This is the kind of stuff that you could be making either for yourself, a client, or even NBC. This is the direction that media is going and more and more digital first content is going to dominate what we think of as TV.
The site launched with two premiere stories, and plans to release a new video a week, and eventually ramp up that production as more VJs are added to the team.
The new operation is run by former BBC VJ Matt Danzico who thinks that Left Field represents the future of video journalism. In an interview with TVNewser Danzico said, “I have tapped the shoulders of journalists, content creators, some of my friends, people I really look up to and explain to them my thinking about the unit. Now, here we are…I think we have the beginnings of what could be a very intriguing and revolutionary video journalism unit.”
We believe that this is a partially true statement from Danzico, the future of video journalism will be on the web, and will be short-form content for the most part, but what he is wrong about is the dependence on traditional broadcasters. The fact is that we don't need NBC Left Field, we just need more VJs. After all, Danzico does not expect most of the traffic to Left Field to be on their site, but rather on platforms, or Internet metropolises as he told Poynter, like Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram. As long as your content is compelling, the storytelling is clear and you promote your work effectively you can make a name for yourself in the growing video journalism industry.
Check out the new NBC Left Field website here.