Not so many years ago, we were working with The BBC, training staffers to shoot and edit their own material.
Begin The BBC, the corporation had certain 'technical' requirements - like massive cameras and editing on Avid.
When we started the sessions, Pat Younge, who was then Chief Creative Officer for The BBC told the assembled, "now, I know you all have better gear at home than we are using here..."
Truer words were never spoken.
Pretty much everyone in the room had a smartphone (mostly iPhones) and they all had Mac laptops.
How simple to make your own content. How complicated to use the offical gear.
Since we did those sessions, of course, the home gear has only gotten better.
Today, 3.5 billion people, worldwide, have smartphones. Almost all those smartphones shoot 4K, edit, add graphics, add music and 'share' - all for free.
That is astonishing firepower in the hands of, well, everyone. That same production firepower, a decade ago (pre iPhone) would have cost you about $10 million. Today, it's in your pocket.
And it's not like people don't use them. As I am sure you know, people now upload 500 hours of video to YouTube every minute. (We used to make 500 half-hours in a year). And YouTube is only a bit of the video landscape. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snap (not to mention TikTok) all are set to surpass YouTube.
User Generated Video is everywhere - except on local TV news.
Why is that?
What is the matter with local TV news?
Do you think you can really properly cover a good sized city with 8 or even 11 cameras on the street every day?
Now, you have whole communities filled with people who have all the firepower they need to 'tell their own stories'.
All you have to do is tap into them.
And it's not like they are not doing this already.
Well, (they say), User Generated Content (UGC) does not work.
Fully 100% of the content of Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, eBay, Airbnb, TripAdvisor...(I could go on and on) is User Generated.
Does it work for them?
It does. And here's an even more important point. When people participate in the content, as opposed to just watching it, it gives them a sense of ownership. They are a part of the team. They matter. They aren't just customers or consumers, they are very very loyal to the brand becuase the brand is them.
In a world of limitelss online space, local TV could open up to a whole raft of new community and personal stories, not to mention new local personalities and influencers.
It's a good idea. And the funny thing is, it is already there.