A video journalist's guide to archiving footage

by Margaret Looney
Oct 30, 2018 in Multimedia Journalism

When you're in the field capturing breaking news video in high-risk zones, you often can't afford to go back for take two. And when you're in a hurry to get newsworthy videos online fast, mistakes can happen.

That's why archiving footage should be at the forefront of a video journalist's mind from the second the camera is turned on. Video advocacy nonprofit Witness created a how-to guide to simplify this vital task.

Available in Arabic, English and Spanish under a Creative Commons license, the guide offers an eight-step workflow for "managing, preserving and authenticating your digital video," from creation to cataloging to sharing.

The guide also includes a set of resources, including key concepts, a glossary of terms, tip sheets and advice for using videos as evidence.

Witness has been promoting human rights through video storytelling for 20 years. It created the archiving guide after hearing numerous accounts of documentarians who lost irreplaceable footage.

"We created this guide because we frequently hear from activists and other organizations that managing their videos are among their most difficult challenges," wrote archivist Yvonne Ng in this post. "While many of us take great care to capture important events as they unfold, or to interview survivors of human rights abuses, we often have no plan for making sure the recordings remain safe and usable over even a short period of time."

Check out the guide here or download a .PDF version here. To view the rest of Witness' video storytelling guides, click here.

IJNet Editorial Assistant Margaret Looney writes about the latest media trends, reporting tools and journalism resources.

Image CC-licensed on Flickr via U.S. Pacific Air Forces.