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Gary Arlen, the longtime media pundit (and my former business partner), says in a new article for TV Technology that he is expecting newspapers to use the Web to shove their way into the television industry and “become significant online HDTV purveyors.” Newspaper HD production efforts reflect an array of approaches to broadband video, and publishers are developing alliances with local broadcasters and cable TV operators to share HD productions during this transitional period for both industries,” says Arlen.

Arlen quotes Chet Rhodes, deputy multimedia editor for breaking news at Washington Post/Newsweek Interactive, as predicting that HDTV will be the primary format of newspaper Web sites “maybe within two years.” The question is, How soon we can afford to stream those files?” Rhodes told Arlen, adding that MPEG-4 will make the process more feasible.

WPNI is accelerating its HD production and archiving by equipping 40 of its print reporters with Panasonic mini digital video cameras for live feeds to the Web site. It also has six professional videographers who accompany print reporters doing longer articles. The shooters generally come from a broadcast background and create more traditional documentary pieces. Rhodes says some of the still-frame grabs from the HD cameras are so clear that they have been used to illustrate articles in the newspaper’s print editions.

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