Old (Print) Media No Stranger to Video

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Among the many dubious achievements in Silicon Valley recently, none pique my interest so much as the creation of an absurd corporate moniker language apparently cribbed from menopause commercials and erectile dysfunction literature. Daylife. Vuguru. Stickam. Signifying nothing (it’s a brand new word!) and everything (it’s Web 2.0!), we seed the blogosphere with our Googleable form of marketing Ebonics.

So it’s worth taking a look at some older publications whose names and reputations, while dowdy, haven’t prevented them from dabbling in the hipper-than-thou world of online video.

First up, the New Yorker was recently subjected to Conde Nast’s Web relaunch campaign and came out with a fresh(er) look and quite a few videos. Prominent on the front page of the site, albeit below the fold, is video featuring the New Yorker’s infamous cartoons. The New Yorker also offers video from Lawrence Wright’s “My Trip to Al Qaeda,” a one-man play based on Wright’s book, now showing at the Culture Project in NYC.

Another video on the site: Jane Mayer talking about her article “Whatever it Takes,” a fascinating piece about “24” creator Joel Surnow and the politics of torture. The vids aren’t embeddable, but I’m inclined not to care. The site has a clean design and RSS feeds. Be happy.

The Washington Post, another venerable pub you may subscribe to, has been futzing around with vids lately, too. The Washington Post’s OnBeing by Jennifer Crandall is “a project based on the simple notion that we should get to know one another a little better.” The vids feature people simply talking about themselves, but the stories are engaging. Watch out for slow load times and buffering though.

If ordinary folk aren’t your bag, then check out “The First Ones,” a short film directed by Jake Paltrow (brother of Gwyneth) in which seven actors talk about the films that made early impressions on them. Leonard DiCaprio, who will always be Arnie to me, cried for three days after seeing the original King Kong with his dad. Brad Pitt: Watched “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” with his family at the drive-in. The vids were released during Oscar season — all the actors were contenders — but they’re still fun to watch.

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