Ohio Journalist

Content by Design

By Alex Card

(December 1, 2015) — Robert Padavick doesn’t see multimedia as the future of journalism — to him, it’s the paradigm of the present.

Padavick graduated from Ohio University in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. His focus on magazine journalism apparently didn’t stick — the words “multimedia” and “digital video” pepper his LinkedIn resume, which boasts positions at CNN, NBC, Yahoo! and, most recently, Gannett.

“Every story should be a multimedia package,” Padavick said. “Text is still the foundation, but any interesting story is going to have a video component, a photo component. Our goal is to put together the best package … . Users on the web expect that now.”

As the senior digital video producer at Gannett, Padavick heads a team of content creators for USA Today, as well as the company’s smaller brands.

“We produce original content to sort of fill in the gaps with what we’re not getting from local properties,” Padavick said.

When it comes to “local properties,” Gannett has more than enough to keep Padavick and his team busy.

The Virginia-based company is the largest U.S. newspaper publisher as measured by daily circulation. Its papers include the Arizona Republic, the Cincinnati Enquirer, the Detroit Free Press and numerous others.

Gannett also operates 43 television stations, including NBC and CBS affiliates.

Despite his focus on video content, Padavick believes Scripps’ most important contribution to his career is something far more traditional.

“For me, it was all about getting those writing skills hammered in,” Padavick said. “Anything you do, in media or otherwise… if you don’t have those writing skills, you’re just severely hamstrung. “Having that foundation is so key because it lets you be versatile,” he added.

Padavick’s professional foray into multimedia took off just out of school. Influenced by international studies courses, particularly Professor Harold Molineau’s political science course, Current World Problems, Padavick sought out a position at a network with a strong international presence.

“I ended up taking a lot of courses in international relations,” Padavick said. “When it came time to look for a job, CNN was sort of the perfect fit for me because it allowed me to combine [journalism and international relations].”

After nearly four years at CNN and a year and a half as senior international editor for NBC News, Padavick updated his skill set at Yahoo! as the senior producer of original content.

“That is where I learned the value of the package. Everything we did at Yahoo! and since then… it’s not even the future, it is what it is: multimedia as a package in your story or presentation,” Padavick said. “We were always looking at ‘what is the best way to tell the story,’” he said.

Hans Meyer, now an associate professor at Scripps, said he first contacted Padavick while teaching at the University of Missouri in an attempt to reach Yahoo! News reporter Kevin Sites. At the time, Padavick was the producer of the Yahoo! Wartime project “Kevin Sites in the Hot Zone.”

“Anything I’ve needed from him he’s let me have, even though we’ve really never met face to face,” Meyer said. “He’s been a great asset.”

“I keep telling him, ‘we’ve got to get you back here for the Schuneman Symposium or something like that,’” he said. “He hasn’t come back yet, but he’s Skyped into a couple of my classes.”

A busy schedule and geographic distance have kept Padavick from returning to Ohio University—with the exception of attending his younger sister’s graduation. However, Padavick said he “would love to” return for a guest lecturing event.

Padavick encouraged journalism students at Ohio University to recognize “the privilege of getting a great journalism education at Scripps, of just getting that particular set of tools.”

He had one last piece of advice: “I would say, make the best use of that education, and save plenty of time to go lie in the grass [outside Scripps Hall].”

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