The Washington Post's video strategy is focused on leaving "no orphans on the web", so each video has to to be part of a bigger story.
"We've been moving over the last year, year and a half, to make sure our videos are much more an integral part of the storytelling that we do for the Washington Post overall," explained Micah Gelman, director of editorial video, speaking to Journalism.co.uk at the News Impact Summit in Berlin on 1 July.
"So we don't have videos that stand alone without supporting text or photos or graphics, we don't have orphan videos that we just do because we like them but don't really fit in with the rest of the journalism.
"What we're trying to do is make sure that we're producing video that works specifically for each platform, so we don't expect one video that we produce is going to work across our site, across social networks, across devices."
As a growing part of the audience is now accessing stories from the Washington Post on mobile, the challenge also becomes determining what format these mobile audiences want to watch videos in.
While the vast majority of videos the team produces are landscape videos, with only around five per cent of the total output vertical, Gelman said the team is open minded about vertical video, as it is a perfect fit for mobile consumption.
He compared the industry's reticence towards vertical video to the reaction to YouTube in its early days, when some thought "YouTube will never take off because people want really high quality video".
But few people turn their phone sideways to watch a video, especially if they are walking at the time or holding a cup of coffee in their other hand, for example.
"It's a little different when it comes to a longer television programme which you might sit down and spend more time on, but most people are watching short form news videos vertically."
The Washington Post launched its own vertical video player in October 2015, and has produced a series of explainers in this format as well as videos for mobile-optimised immersive pieces such as The Waypoint, a documentary chronicling the journey of refugees.
Deciding which stories would be more suited to vertical video and filming accordingly can be a challenge, especially as the team is not looking to crop the footage to suit the final orientation of the video.
"That never looks great for either format, so when it came to the story we did at the end of last year, The Waypoint, that was shot with vertical performance in mind.
"We've done a whole series of vertical videos on campaign topics for the US election, including a series that's going out right now about who the vice presidential nominees might be.
"We're producing those specifically with vertical in mind because we think that will be the best approach."
The Washington Post is creating vertical video for its mobile apps and the mobile web, but embracing this format has additional benefits.
Eyewitness media that comes into the newsroom filmed vertically can now be presented without the additional black bars on the side.
Stories filmed by the team on Snapchat, a platform where the Washington Post is very active, especially on the campaign trail, can be saved and published in other places when relevant.
"If we feel like it's a good piece of content we want to include in something else, we can obviously keep it native."
Producing vertical videos required an additional effort, as animations and other graphics are usually required.
Gelman explained The Washington Post's motion graphics team has been working with the video team on the format, producing graphics especially for these stories.
The advertising team has also been thinking about monetising vertical video. Jarrod Dicker, head of ad product and technology, has created a product that takes traditional ads and turns them into a gif or a series of jpeg files that load quickly and work with vertical videos. But advertiser uptake is still rare.
"There's still a lot of scepticism amongst the professional set, but I would urge people to keep an open mind.
"You look at how you use the phone, how everybody uses the phone, and take what's the best way to produce for that person."
Free daily newsletter
- Tip: Best practices for building a digital strategy
- ‘There was nothing high-tech about it’: The Washington Post’s viral counter-sting video shows that ‘old fashioned journalism’ still has its place today
- Report: News organisations still favour Facebook despite feeling the pinch of algorithms
- 'When you're surrounded by something constantly, it stops surprising you': The Washington Post Magazine experiments with storytelling through poems, songs and board games
- The Economist and Slate collaborate on The Secret History of the Future to share audiences and expertise