Introducing Video Vox

Richard Baldwin 03 May 2016

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VoxEU is a policy portal based on the written word – 1,500-word columns of “research-based policy analysis and commentary by leading economists”. This has worked pretty well – we get around a half million page views per month. But The Times They Are a-Changing.

In the last ten years, video has come to dominate the internet:

And it is not just cute cat content. Internet video is used as a learning tool in schools and in higher education institutions. If your children want to learn something like “how do I convert a pdf into a word document”, they are likely to first look for a how-to video.

The video revolution is coming to economics. CEPR and Econ Films surveyed more than 200 economists to find out how they used video. In our sample – which had 74% of respondents over 40 – four out of five watched video online at least once a week.

In video veritas

One possible explanation for the popularity of video is the simple fact that video acts an entry barrier. It is expensive to create good video (something like £1,000 per video is reasonable); it is much cheaper to create written content. Things that get into good video are thus likely to be worth the few minutes it takes to view them. One cannot say that of written words. For written material, one needs a screening device like VoxEU.

The key here is “good video”. There are many almost unwatchable videos out there on economics, ranging from the deadly hour-long static camera on a talking head to the mind-numbing interviews of famous economists by journalists who seem bent on proving that they really did get an F in introductory economics.

VoxEU is trying to pioneer a new form of video on economics – akin to the way we pioneered, in 2007 when Vox started, a new style of writing up research-based policy analysis and commentary (a style that has been widely emulated). The key to Vox Videos is to have them short (under five minutes in the main) and focused on individual researchers speaking about their own research guided by questions from an interviewer who understands economics.

We are teaming with several organisations, including the World Economic Forum but especially with Econ Films, which was founded by and is run by Bob Denham (who was a Vox copy-editor when he was in graduate school).

Launching Video Vox

Vox has long posted videos – often embedded in Vox columns. For several years now we have had a few ‘Vox Views’, i.e. something like a Video Vox column. The flow of these was modest. Now we are moving more firmly in this direction by putting video on the front page and by working hard to get a good flow of new videos.

The idea of this new initiative is the same as the old one. Vox aims to enrich the global economic policy debate by narrowing the divide between today’s best economic research and the discussion of real-world policy issues. On the supply side, Vox makes it easier for serious researchers to contribute. On the demand side, Vox makes the knowledge of researchers more accessible to the public. Now we’ll be doing this with video as well.

Are you considering making videos of your events?                                         

Just as with columns, Vox will post video content created by third parties. If you have video you’d like to be posted on Vox, please contact me at http://voxeu.org/pages/contact-us. If you are thinking of using video to disseminate the results of a research conference, book launch, or talk, feel free to contact me about the possibility of cross-posting it on Vox. 

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Topics:  Frontiers of economic research

Tags:  Video Vox, VoxEU, videos

Professor of International Economics at The Graduate Institute, Geneva; Founder & Editor-in-Chief of VoxEU.org; exPresident of CEPR

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