NEW YORK—At Newsweek, all it takes is a $750 camera from B&H, access—and the fearlessness of a cable television vet—to produce online video from the presidential campaign trail.

Using what she’s affectionately dubbed the “Tam Cam,” Tammy Haddad, the former MSNBC executive producer and current Newsweek video consultant, told a group of magazine executives—like everyone else, still trying to figure online video—that producing compelling content isn’t an expensive proposition.

“We’re talking under $1,000,” said Haddad, speaking on a panel at the Magazines 24/7 conference here Wednesday.

“It is to me just like cable,” Haddad, the former producer of Hardball with Chris Matthews, said. “You remember when we told you magazines, ‘Hey, people aren’t going to wait for print’? Now, you have the opportunity to say to them that you aren’t going to wait for TV.”

People no longer wait for cable news to find video when a story breaks, she said. “You go to the Web.”

Leaning on her political contacts and the Newsweek brand, Haddad recounted how she beat her former employers to exclusive campaign interviews with John McCain, Ted Kennedy—and a chance encounter with Sylvester Stallone in Las Vegas—with a D.I.Y. work-ethic. “We dropped it into the news cycle while the guys from Nightline were looking for their lattes,” Haddad said about the McCain interview.

Haddad recalled chasing down an interview with the actress and apparent whale activist Hayden Panettiere leaving a rally for Barack Obama, without knowing who she was. “There were 200 reporters there,” Haddad said. “I said ‘Let’s get her!’”

“I asked her what she was doing there,” Haddad continued. “She said ‘I wanted to talk to him about dolphins.’ I called Newsweek and said ‘Oh my God, upload!’”

Despite her cable background, she cautioned publishers not to try to replicate cable news. “We’re not trying to be TV,” Haddad said. “That’s the biggest mistake you can make.”

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