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Why the Orlando Sentinel is making cat (and dog) videos

Screen shot

Screen shot

On Monday, Jon Busdeker and Rich Pope spent a couple hours creating a personal ad for a cat.

Since May, the Orlando Sentinel has created videos to go with stories about dogs and cats up for adoption from area shelters. Busdeker, a mobile journalist with the Sentinel, shared the cat personal ad on Poynter’s Facebook page after I wrote about The New York Times history with cat stories.

So of course I wanted to know, and see, more. Busdeker delivered.

The videos accompany stories by Kate Santich, who covers social issues for the paper and writes the paper’s “Animal Crazy” blog. Busdeker works with Santich and Pope, a graphic artist, on ideas for the videos and production.

They try and play off the news, like the ice bucket challenge or a Valentine-themed personal ad. The videos don’t take too long to create. With the cat personal ad video, Busdeker spent a little time watching personal ad videos from the 80s to help him get just the right look. Busdeker doesn’t create the videos in the way you may have seen news organizations handle shelter pets before, and that’s on purpose.

“Over time, I don’t think those would do very well,” he said. “You might get a click here or there.”

But a funny video with a good headline will get clicks and shares on social media, “which is obviously the key to a lot of these.”

So far, he figures, the Sentinel has created 30 or 35 videos of pets up for adoption. He hears from the shelters when the pets are adopted, which he thinks is about 75 percent of the time. (Busdeker doesn’t just make fun animal videos, by the way. His work includes “George Zimmerman verdict: What YOU didn’t see” and “Resegregation looms with new Parramore school, end of busing.” )

The animal adoption videos offer some perks for the newsroom, too. Every other week for about 15 minutes, staff at the Sentinel get to play with a cat or dog.

“We have a lot of people in the office that get really excited when it’s dog day,” he said.

Here’s Tag’s personal ad. He is no longer single.

Read more

from Poynter. http://ift.tt/1LUhplE

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