Australia’s ABC TV channel hosts an investigative programme called ‘Four Corners‘ each week, and a few weeks back they ran a 45-minute edition examining the treatment to which Bradley Manning, the man accused of the largest leak in history, is being subjected.
(This was before military prison authorities decided that Manning would be forced to strip naked each night, and before State Department spokesman PJ Crowley resigned after denouncing his treatment as ‘ridiculous, counterproductive and stupid’.)
Although the program weighed in at just under 3/4s of an hour, Four Corners have hosted at least 90 minutes of video interview content on their website. Complete interviews with WikiLeaks head honcho Julian Assange, editor of The Guardian Alan Rusbridger and Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, amongst others, have been uploaded.
TV broadcasts, by their nature, are limited in length; one of the biggest challenges in broadcast journalism is editing your work as a reporter down into a segment that fits your producer’s length perfectly. It can’t feel too contracted, but it can’t feel too thinly spread either.
As a result, little gems often get left on the cutting room floor – until now. The Four Corners model demonstrates that an online presence can be used not only for hosting previews or behind-the-scenes clips, but can be treated like an open warehouse for a greater volume of content than one broadcast might permit.