A visit with CT News Junkie editor Christine Stuart

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I spent last Wednesday with Christine Stuart, the editor of CT News Junkie, which covers Connecticut politics. Stuart, who’s based at the Statehouse in Hartford, posts two to four times a day, often covering hearings on important but secondary stories that the mainstream media ignore.

CT News Junkie is a media partner with the New Haven Independent, one of the more interesting experiments in non-profit, Web-based community journalism. Projects such as these are crucial as we seek to grope our way forward through the economic crisis that has befallen the news business. (CT News Junkie is technically a for-profit company, but Stuart is looking into ways of taking it non-profit.)

I visited Stuart as part of a long-range project. But while I was there, I shot some video and put together a six-minute documentary. I hope you’ll take a few moments and have a look.

Some technical notes. After spending about an hour trying to edit my video with iMovie ’08, I gave up and used iMovie 6 instead. The lack of precision for coordinating audio and B-roll with iMovie ’08 is a source of constant frustration, and I’ve finally given up. I can’t believe I subjected my students to it last semester. Maybe iMovie ’09 will be a better solution.

I also was unable to post the result to YouTube, even though the format (MP4), the length (well under 10 minutes) and the file size (under 100 MB) all meet YouTube’s guidlines. Vimeo didn’t work, either. I finally posted it successfully to Wired Journalists, which uses the Ning platform designed by Netscape founder Marc Andreesen.

If anyone out there has some thoughts as to why this proved to be YouTube-unfriendly, please drop me a line or post a comment. I’d still like to get this up on YouTube.

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7 thoughts on “A visit with CT News Junkie editor Christine Stuart

  1. mikestucka

    Er … which MP4 format? As I understand it, MP4 is a “container format” that lets you store some number of file types inside, like an AVI and somewhat similarly to a ZIP or Stuffit format.I’m going to guess that you encoded to H.264 in an MP4 container, because Macs like to do that. YouTube’s internal converter at least used to be H.26*3* based, so you’re going to lose some quality right off the bat in the conversion, if I remember right and my other assumptions are correct. You might try saving as an H.263-encoded AVI and see if that gets you anywhere.Also, take a look at http://www.ffmpegx.com/download.html — not even terribly user friendly to get running the first time, but will convert anyhthing. It’s good to have around.In this case, where you probably still have the original video files, you’d want to try to re-open the project file in iMovie and then save again … again, probably to an H263-encoded AVI for simplicity’s sake.That’ll be $14.95 … or some Atomic Fireballs …

  2. Dan Kennedy

    Mike: YouTube says it likes H.264 just fine. The one thing iMovie ’08 does nicely is convert projects to YouTube and upload them automatically. Wish I knew what the settings were, because with iMovie 6 you’re on your own.

  3. mikestucka

    Hrm. So I thought your link only addressed codecs, but not the container question; then I found this, on file formats, and, er, yeah, er, you should, er, be working.Mac — It Just Works ™. =)Did YouTube give you an error message? What was it?

  4. BrianCUA

    I’ve often had trouble uploading to YouTube using Firefox. It says it is uploading but goes on forever. Without a status bar, like in Vimeo, you can’t tell if it is actually working. That’s about the only time I use IE. I also use Roxio Media Creator to create content. It is a whole suite of applications that do an excellent job. I’m no expert, but it does the basics just fine.

  5. Kirk Williamson

    Dan – Output to a H.264 .mov file (Quicktime)it works just fine use it every day. You Tube has great tutorials!

  6. Dan Kennedy

    Kirk: I’ll give it another try. Any custom settings that you use? I just find that the image deteriorates pretty badly with a straight QuickTime conversion. Thanks.

  7. Doug Jamieson

    I also prefer iMovie 6 to the current version. Much better control. Not sure what Apple was thinking, other than attempting to sell us up to FinalCut. Lots of negative user comments on the web about iMovie 8.

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