University Web Developers

University Web Developers

I'd love to know how various institutions have handled (or might handle) a situation like this: A local network TV news team shoots and airs a very positive 2.5-minute segment about one of our university's students. As many TV outlets do, they even provide an easy snippet of HTML to embed Flash video of the particular segment on our site. Naturally, we'd love to show our site visitors this clip, which does a good job getting at a number of our core values. But the embedded Flash video (not surprisingly) starts with a 15-second third-party ad. The ads are not offensive or problematic in any way — but some fear that embedding the Flash video on our university site will appear to be taking commercial sponsorships. They say we shouldn't embed the video but just link away to it on the network-TV site.

So my question comes down to this: Would you and your institution be willing to embed a local media outlet's positive video segment on your own webpage, even if it meant having to accept a short, prepended ad you couldn't control? Or would you link to an external site?

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We'd say no to embedding and link to the external site. We don't allow ads on our site, and many visitors would not be sophisticated to understand that these ads were not being posted by our institution.
True, but the same problem occurs in the case of any external link, where content is beyond control — the link can go dead or content be altered at any time. Perhaps it would be less desirable to have a non-functioning viewer than a dead link, but not by much?
I (generally speaking) rarely hesitate to post them. I wouldn't put them in some place as a permanent piece of content, but I am happy to post them as news stories.

Several reasons. The first is that if it's really a great piece of content, you want to feature it. If it is showing how much your community appreciates/respects your school, then you can't buy that publicity. Also, especially if it's a local news outlet, it's some nice mutual back scratching.

I understand the fear of ads you can't control. Actually I'm usually quite conservative about that, but no legitimate site/media outlet will post ads that are offensive, I don't think. And I also think people expect ads, and are able to see them for what they are in the media embed. If links break and it's still recent enough to be concerned with, then I pull the story.
Think of it in legal terms of what "any reasonable person" would think. I'm blessed to have very reasonable people immediately around me in administration, but others may not.

Here's the funny thing about something like this:

For someone not native to the web, or an administrative official just trying to make sure they "don't get a phone call", they see this as a "something that could blow up" when really, any reasonable person would get it.

We would do it, if we had to, but generally speaking— we just get the original video file, sans commercial content, and embed it any way we see fit. Is that an option?
Good word, thanks. We're working on getting the original video, but the process is slow and uncertain (so far), and we lose the timeliness of the piece.
We've linked to the news sites for this.

And then I still get e-mails asking why we're showing a Capella or Pheonix ad before our piece...when "we're" not showing anything, it's just the news site doing a good job of targetting their ads really and not much we could do outside of buying the video and hosting it ourselves.

That would be really bad if we had embedded the player on our site and those ads started showing. But this may be more of a PFPC issue.

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