Critique: Short-form Online Video


This weekend the Great American Beer Festival is in Denver. Channel 9 covered its start on Wednesday and some local issues surrounding it in an online video package.


The use of video coverage provides a well-rounded perspective for this story. In a way that text or photos could not, the package gives the viewer a sense of being there at the location with video of the event being set up, beer being poured and people enjoying beer together (likely footage from last year’s festival). Viewers also hear directly from Nancy Johnson, GABF Director, about the economic benefits to whole state and can put a face with the festival. As an online text and photo piece, the vibe of the event as it begins would not be communicated so well. But here with the narration of anchors, a variety of video clips and a direct interview, the viewer gets a close look inside even if they do not attend.

Then the story switches to examine why two local Denver breweries are not participating in the GABF this year. Using both narration and film of the brewery owners being interviewed, Channel 9 weaves an informative picture of who these local businesses are and how their priorities do and don’t align with the festival. In both cases the owners sit at a table in their taprooms, revealing facts as well as showcasing personality on tape. For those who may not be keen on attending the large festival, it also gives a glimpse into the ambiance of each business – a teaser or hint of what it would be like to go there. This may or not be meant as a promo for these businesses, but it certainly acts like it, since viewers of this piece are probably close enough to visit.

Channel 9 ends with showing a list of events related to the GABF on their website for viewers to check out. This friendly “find out more” bit directs viewers to the internet but doesn’t keep them from continuing to watch the news on television. This coverage also transitions well to the internet because of its main focus on local breweries, which will last as news after the GABF is done – and it is sharable.

The subject matter itself also lends itself to video coverage. For one, it is about beer, and the act of drinking and enjoying beer is hard to capture simply in text or photos. Two, it is a promo piece, with the event only beginning. It would be difficult to do more than mention the event location and details in text, since it has not happened yet and there is no news from this year’s event to report on, such as award winners. Photo coverage will likely show up online as the event is underway this weekend.

Channel 9 takes advantage of the GABF with this video package to highlight its effect on the entire state and shine a light on two Denver breweries who are not participating. As a viewer, I am not only more informed about the festival and how to participate (whether officially or unofficially) but now have a hankering to try out the taps at Call to Arms and Cerebral Brewing in Denver.