For a magazine like Newsweek, covering the 2008 presidential campaign can be as competitive an endeavor as the campaign itself. As such, tiptoeing into online video wasn’t an option.
Enter Tammy Haddad, a former producer for MSNBC who has shown the magazine world that producing compelling video content doesn’t have to be an expensive proposition. Armed with what she’s affectionately dubbed the “Tam Cam,” a $750 digital camera from B&H, Haddad leaned on her past political contacts, and hit the campaign trail.
Haddad says she beat her former employers to exclusive campaign interviews with John McCain and Ted Kennedy 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 says about the McCain interview.
“She’s unstoppable,” says Newsweek.com editor Deidre Depke. When Haddad is on the road covering the campaign, Depke will get, on average, 12-15 videos a day. In any given month, Newsweek’s videos get between 5 and 10 million combined plays—a far cry from the 100,000 plays they were getting a couple years ago.
In February, Haddad coordinated a five-hour live Webcast covering the Super Tuesday primaries. It cost $2,000 to produce, and quickly found a sponsor, Dodge. It was streamed by roughly 100,000; they did another one for the so-called Potomac Primaries a week later. Next up for Haddad and co. is a live Webcast of the Pope’s visit to the U.S.—an exclusive Haddad has dubbed a “Popecast.”
“It is to me just like cable,” Haddad said at a magazine conference recently. “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.”
VITAL STATS: Newsweek videos get anywhere between 5 and 10 million combined plays per month.