Saturday, December 30, 2006

Podcast lectures for uni students

"A lecturer at a West Yorkshire university has abolished traditional lectures in favour of podcasts.
Dr Bill Ashraf, a senior lecturer in microbiology at Bradford University, says the move will free up time for more small group teaching."

This from bbc news

At the beginning of my teaching semester, I posted a blec ( web lecture) or Wele (A web lecture designed to be in the wiki format, though still some work to be done on the Wiki part). But it remains one of the most accessed pages from my logs.

It's probbaly not making my work any easier, but it is a transcript almost of the lecture I'm giving with various links for students. The pod has a much better ease of production, but , and these are issues students will likely grapple with.

1. Can it replace the lecture. No, but that's not what Dr Ashraf is saying
2. The quality of the lecture now resides on a new variable - how good is your pod. Other presentation skills come into play
3. What do the echelons of the university think about it?

"Your giving away trade secrets" is the refrain. On the other side of the spectrum, the University of Westmintser's out going vice chancellor, Dr Geoffrey Copland believes soon everything wil be open souce, and even podded - a direction that's been taken by the Open University.

At a Wiki Wednesday meeting in central london - a gathering of hard core wiki enthusiasts - I met a technician from Ravensbourne College who said they'd be using podcasts, so Dr Ashraf may not be the first, however certainly it appears to be the fiirst time it's been reported on.

I am hoping to catch Dr Asraf for a chat, if his inbox isn't full of requests which it probably is. Skype? Well yes except most unis firewalls don't allow skype penetration.

We'll get there. First few steps by Dr Ashraf. Giant leap follows.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

James Brown is dead. Long live the JBs

Very sad news indeed. I never met the Godfather, but by proxy, like millions was touched. I hope to write a fuller article soon, digging into my vinyl collection from the King label and the whole fraternity of the jbs, Lynn Collins, Fred Wesley, Maceo whom I had one of my best interviews with.

"When Mr Brown turned round and waved his finger at you as if he were conducting, he was actually docking your wages", says Maceo Parker.

This is obviously not how the hardeest working would want to be recognised, but it's what I remember most from that interview. James Brown is dead. Long live the King (label). Long live the JBs.

Friday, December 15, 2006

The Law of Averages and Success

"So where would you like to be in ... say 5 years time?"

The clocks ticking away. Your palms begin to secrete even more. You're sitting opposite 3 figures. One's fidgetting with a pen, the other gazing at you as if you're about to confess a crime, and the interlocutor is waiting.

"I would like to be an editor"

There's a pregnant silence.

"So where would you like to be in ... say 5 years time?"

Clocks ticking. . .

"I would like to be a foreign reporter

Silence. .


'So where would you like to be in ... say 5 years time, David?"

I don't ****ing know. What the **** do you think I am a futurologist. If I said I wanted your job. You'd think I was an arrogant a***. If I pitch myself any lower, you'll think I lack ****ing ambition, so where do I wanna be in 5 years. Truth? Doing something I love doing. Being successful at what I do.. Yeah, not because of you. But because of the hard work, I'm going to put in and the law of averages.


I walked out of the interview room thinking that's what I would really like to say, but I'm weak and feeble. My final answer was average. My clenched fist almost made it past my oesophagus.

There is ambition; what we love doing; drive; bloody mindedness; and the law of averages.

A loose assessment ( seconds, there!) leads me to a conclusion - how we so easily misconstrue and become determinants at what they mean.

Ambition is good in the US. In the 80s it took on a more aggressive persona: "Greed is Good"- ala Wall Street's Michael Douglas' character.

In the UK ambition is to be left in the fridge with the half used can of beans. We all love doing something and working in the media has a high "I love my job quotient". But here too there are tacks on the floor. How much do I love you to want to stay on late and impress the editor who will remember my radiant chuckly reply when I spoke of drive, and combed my thoughts which screamed "Bloody mindedness".

We all want success: to be the best postman, most accomplished burglar, and a good journalist. And we'll do what we can legally to get there. But we're lumped into an ecosystem which rewards the antithesis to that we deem good character.

B****... HE IS A RIGHT W******
My diary shows I uttered those words possibly 1 trilion times in the beginning of my employ. Well actually I didn't but I must have heard it amongst the small gathering around the coffee machine.

There can be few professions in the world that are so personality driven, residing on ego ( in varying dollops) and insecurity.
And it's this unhealthy mix that is in part the daily catalyst to spring step to work to the sound of music, walk, then drag feet by midday.

But we love it. Many of us wouldn't do anything less. This is no place for shrinking violets my boss told me. Er what did he mean? I had no idea what he meant. Translation, if you can't shout about what you do, then no one will do it for you. Actually the more succesful ones are more tactful about how that's done. Oh yes and at some point you're gonna be loathed. Fancy becoming a manager?

Email 13.17 Sunday
As you know Jim there was a slight problem with the edit that carrie should have dealt with so we went back. Did you see that item on Ar** irrigation on Newsnight's newsbelt?

Inference: The sods working late again, post 10.30. No 11 that's when their newsbelt's on. Gosh how ambitious can you get? And look at the time of the email. **** off and die.

In part, the green mist could quite easily descend on me on these ocassions. But what was it that I/we felt envious about? Them or my lack of that killer "et tu brutus" stroke doing the same thing. I didn't want to

The web cohabits this wierd and wonderful world of contradictions. More so because of our abilty to interact, scrum and thwack that arrogant journalist/writer back in the face. Particularly joyous if it's the paper or journo you love to hate.

But as the new superstars of the web are showing, the old personal human traits so prevalant in the media are showing no signs of abating. One major differences is that this new group have had a rather meritocratic rise in blogospshere based on you, I and my pet dog sparky who would bark when he saw Amanda Congdon on Rocketboom.

No where would you like to be in say years; no where did you go to school; no er, we already have a person with a disability, ethnic background, er whatever in the workforce. This time it's me and you. Our blogs, the quality of them, our youtube videos, flick pics, sniper-edge pods say more about us than anyone could.

Yeeeeees, (i'm squirming) and No (very abruptly !)

Jon Snow on my reel produces the biggest reaction to this schizo-mania. Those who know me, will probably have guessed what it means, that when I sit down the chairs don't illuminate. Of the student's I know and have had the pleasure or working with, I can't imagine a more crass intro walking firstly into a lecture. Not because of what Mr Snow says, but by actually believing it.


But the Snow effect, a visual CV, the equivalent of those pithy comments for the paperback you're planning is a proxy vote of sorts, a short cut if you like Snow to cutting the author some slack, a grandfathering ping


Three pieces of advice passed to me, passed on. When considering a career into the media.

Find yourself a grandmother/grandfather - a mentor.

If your dad happens to be Michael Grade, mentor? They'll be coming to you? I was once paying a brief visit to the home of a very powerful TV exec. She sat me down with a cup of tea and begun to tell me about how I should work hard to get where I wanted and then segued into a tale of her daughter.

"Gosh she works so hard. She's just finished two attachments and even the Managing Director's are calling asking if she want to come back", she said gushing.

Yep, musn't be judgemental. her daughter probabaly did sit down to Gustav Holst's The Planets in Full Score, but it didn't seem illogical that the reason also her daughter was being pursued... you get it!

But grandfathers/ mothers have a place, and self belief as well. One of the professions I advocate to anyone/friends e.g. journalist aspiring journalist is to teach.

Because a) I'm finding I can shortcut all the ***p I went through by hopefully passing something on
b) the first time you stand in class you're as naked as the day you were born. If what you're saying doesn't make sense, watch out. Furthermore, there are no airs and grace in the lecture just what I refer to as the cauldron.

Everyone is equal, our respect reciprocated. It's an assymetric coms line, where often the more you're pressed, the more you learn about yourself. The more you learn about yourself, the more you want to push further.

I worked at so many outlets in my broadcasting career that I lost touch, and while a quick flash at my CV may look dandy, it's in part a card trick; huge highs followed by lows. In the UK in 92 I couldn't fnd work in the UK, so relocated to South Africa, ploughing townships and the most aweful places for a story. In 97 I emerged from an agency disillusioned and then like everyone else probbaly goes through badgered enough people to get work, in 2002 having dusted down the last year's general election, I begun to question whether this is what I really wanted to do.

And then I had a idea - though it wasn't called it then. here's an early incarnation if you're interested.

The law of averages says this it's a big numbers game. The 5 percenters. The more we play in the field, the more we're likely to get the ball. Success is relative. Hah I was once touted in the Evening Standard as some doer. What i want to do is pay my mortgage. The law of averages says in this ecosystem where there's a lot of back/foreground noise, find something you're good at and keep doing it. The law of averages says it's a big bell curve, that only a few will make it, a large percentage of us will do ok and a small amount will... well.

The law of averages says those who work hard will be rewarded and the best reward is that which you like doing, whatever that is

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

I want my newsnight

So have your ever been watching BBC Newsnight and thinking I can do that. Well you can but Doh it's too late, at least this round to do anything.

Oh my Newsnight. . . er, yes, Oh My News . . . has you submitting to this bastion of British news your own take on events.
Sorry MAJIs and PGDipers, I missed this.

But it was brought to my attention by a journalist in South West Britain who I had the pleasure of coaching on the finer points of DIY TV.

This is an early piece, demonstrating her prowess as a young print journo turned video journalist . She shot everything her self.

Her email to me ff:

Hello david

Following my VJ training I made a very short film which was selected by BBC Newsnight... 13 films are on the Newsnight website and the 5 videos with most votes will be broadcast on Newsnight in January. Fingers crossed!

If you have time, it would be nice if you could watch my video and give me any construictive criticism (I know there will be a lot!). I hope you are not too disappointed. It is very much presenter-led which is unusual for me as I'm normally so shy but I hope my shots are ok, it was made in a day and a half!

My Video has been (re)named CARBON, it is number 7 on the page:

Briefly; I had a week off and a trip to Poland fell through cause I was broke so shot it in a couple of days. Edited it at work with pinnacle (YUCK! finally got final cut pro on my mac thank goodness). Looking to move onto docs next.


My reply... well now that's a job well done. Second real piece and makes it onto the deck of newsnight.. can't be bad.
Now for my offline chat with Alice.. er sorry, thank you but this is er a bit private..

p.s you could go vote for Alice or frankly anyone of the ones you think are good

Monday, December 11, 2006

er, X factor

It's pointless.Unavoidable. Despite slaving over my mac peering across the fields wondering how i'm going to cut my next film, on either side of the divide the din from the x-factor is proving a distraction.

I haven't heard much thus far. Am I really in a minority? But OMG for sheer songbirdness ( is that a word?) last week was good for me.

In a studio in central London, an audio specialists chuckles and fades up one of 12 buttons marked "drums", "vocals" . . and the rest.

When this track was first released it garnered such awesome reviews, you wondered what could better it. Well it betters itself. Marvin Gaye's" What's going on" stripped to its barebones in a surround sound studio is concert hall music personified.

Angels singing. Then slowly the mixer fades up thevarious data tracks, horns, etc. Sweet sweet music, but not to an industry last week clenching its first to move judgement on the retention of copyright past 50 years.

The reasons, livelihood of course but its also reminded me of a skewed debate at a digital media dinner. Call it the Mickey Mouse factor. Does copy/trade mark rights around this mouse encourage or discourage creativity?

Do current methods of retaining our creations spark new ideas or suffocate them? Is the mash up culture minor larceny dressed up as collaborations?

Me, I dunno.

But I am set on seeing how I get my paws on that Marvin track and . . . . listening to some real xfactor

Friday, December 08, 2006

The circuit

I exchanged a Q and A with Nelson Mandela and later shook hands in South Africa. I interviewed Moby in Wash DC; Fela Kuti proved alongside George Clinton to be the baddest interviews in London; and former head of the CIA James Woolsey provided a fascinating insight to me of his profession.

In Turkey diving 50m to WWI wrecks of Gallipoli, the ensuing interview with Ian Hamilton's grand nephew ( Ian Hamiton was the Commander in Chief of the campaign) was engaing to say the least.

Last week I added a further name. To many he floats on air. Similarly many of us will not know his name. He is Hillman Curtis. A Flash designer who in the late 90s revolutionsed an industry. To many in the design world he is one of the Masters of Flash and last Tuesday we spoke at length on camera, courtesy of Charles Amponsah from Reeltime productions behind the camera.

Why was I so enthralled? Hillman has now turned his hand to video and in a short space of time has reworked his aesthetic into something which could pull an audience to pay-to-view.

The ocassion was Flash on the Beach and the line up... well, honestly I was gratifed to be asked to present, looking at Next Generation TV. Thank you to everyone and their kind words afterwards.

If the highlight was Hillman Curtis, and Neville Brody, then Chris Orwig is someone I would like to package into a pill. Take one a day. Awesome presentation, indelible energy.

As the rest of the last couple of weeks go, it's been Digital Hollywood where I showed a short I made about how universities will shape up in he future; at the Front Line Club, Digital technolgy and the future was the theme; and a couple of articles here and there, and some great work from different cohorts of students.

I now feel the book I wanted to write is starting to write itself. Looking forward, we've only just begun. . . The strive towards a newer system to occupy the old wll feed my leftfield mind.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Our life

James rolled from his bed, Kate stared at the clock wishing some type of mystic gaze would freeze its progress.

Grey clouds materialising from the night, one the shape of a goose and her many goslings broke Sheryl's concentration on the island of Ayia Napa. Change of scene imminent she thought.

And then in this part of the hemisphere as if the world population of ants had, in unison, made that trill sound, barely audible, but magnified and dampened in the human hearing range sounds like computer bytes, ones and zeros at war, the world exploded.

7.00 - It's a beautiful Day ( U2 playing)

"Today's lecture will examine an aspect of Ferma's Theorem"
" Can we use people's genes to id them or what about their isp, when their voice protocol claims they want anonymity"
"An evaluation of journalism in 2009 showed the biggest spike in interest levels but also the most unsettling period of strikes and despair in the profession".

Tseeet tttt eeeek bleeepp!

" Hi james. Hi Kate. Hi to anyone joining us on quiet mode. My name's Sheryl I see some of you have opted for journalism and technology. I'm going virtual so if you want to join please switch on your green room so I can take you to the journalism zone".

Sheryl dance-all-night is a solo lecturer - a new breed of independent teachers gilded to the teeth with computer skills to teach online, inside the grid. It is an experience so far removed from the present that cohorts of the 2027 real world skills experience chortle at the crude methods used some 15 years ago.

2027: Tuesday/ second quad/inside the green zone/ grid 45...

James: " Ok I'm in.. sorry where are you.. ah see you!

The technology is so simple in its elegance that generations in the 20th century would have clamoured for its use. In 2015 digicorps companies started seling of green space - essentially virtual reality backdrops - so anyone with a tetra computer could buy, access their space and interact with anyone else given the right coordinates.

This is Second Life gone mad, but the real is the input sensor attached to your ear and eye pod allowing you to experience whatever it is, wherever it is without having to leave your home.

Terra computers you could say rule the world. Imposing edifices- universities- a feature of modernity but born from the womb of early civilisation, where the Platos and Socates held court in designated ampitheatres with select groups worthy of the knowledge, are no more.

Welcome to the new world.

David Dunkley Gyimah writes: It's only fiction so steady on before I start getting hate mail, but this emerging world had me thinking after interviewing the University of Westminster's Vice Chancellor Dr Geoffrey Copland about the future of Unis after I'd been invited to speak about the subject at the forthcoming digital
hollywood forum.

What the VC had to say took my breadth away. You'll have to watch it to understand that my active imagination hasn't made up all of the above. The future for Dr Copland is students logging on to their courses via handhelds, devising their own curriculum, education has become open source - anyone and everyone can attend. . . and so on.

In a small way that's almost happening, Blogs and blecs have become an interesting guide for the class of 2006 to discover how their colleagues around the country are doing.

Victoria, James, David, Ruth and Rachel and their contact with Adam Westbrook firstly via blogs and then in person, plus some other interesting stuff they intend to do is the forerunner to
open source new transparency.

The virtual bit is my imagination gone silly again. I went into a green room last week and got viewmagazine as the backdrop. What emerged from conversations with the technical manager is that within a couple of months I should be able to walk down a corridor of pages and pull out links while having a live chat with users.

Ahh technology.

"Radio 4 . That's all from Sunday with me Roger Bolton. Join me next week on Sunday, untill then goodbye. . .

"I just had the wierdest dream about some future technobable stuff"

Sunday, November 19, 2006

music journalism

There's only so much you can do on a PGDip course, but one area I have given some thought to is Music Journalism.

Today I got to clearing out some junk and trawled through one, then another, then. . . LPs. Yes those black plastic discs with tunes grooved in em.

Gosh despite my penchant for all things techy, my LPs are one vestige of yesterday that I can't shake. I can barely play em. My record players taking leave of of its functioning sense. Yes I could buy a new one, but nostalgia would rather have me admire the things.

Bobby Byrd, Lynn Collins, mostly of all James Brown's stuff from the 60s/70s/80s, Shalamer.... Shalamer ! Oh dear that brings back memories dancing at Soul Train

The heady days of music journalism: NME, The Face, ID, Blues and Souls, Paul Moss, Julie Burchill, Punk, The Smiths, Pogues, Chilli Peppers, Nirvana and you can fill in the rest.

It's not that anything worthy isn't happening at the mo. That's a **** nonsence. It's all relative. My mother would have me believe Bing Crosby turned water to gold.
Yep I'd be as much into Snow Patrol, Razorlight, Beyonce, Music undergrad Nancy Ginindza and at some time I'm looking forward to one of PGDip Journo Ruth Owen's gig. Maybe it's just that I can't go three days without food, sleeping in the same clothes and a bottle of Sam Miguel which lasts me just as much ( I don't really drink) in pursuit of toones, which leaves me bereft of feeling it...

But somehow I feel that living it breathing it ethos of music journo'sm has waned. Although George Skafidas', a 05 Masters student would beg to differ with this site, more than sounds

So how do we make this work and could it? Kienda Hoji - head of commercial music is all for it. His newly created Faculty Records - the only label within a uni is one reason why Music Journalism as a module makes sense. So what do we do next?
It's not up to me, but suggestions on a LP cover pushed under my door.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Long way up and a short fall down

Be careful what you do climbing the media ladder, cuz it could lead to an almighty fall down

Not as many articles this week on viewmag as I would have wanted to, but a busy week and even busier next, when I hope to introduce an aspect of the outernet onto view that had me jumping up and down like a three year old.

Thursday was interesting, the debate about technology and freelancing at the Front Line Club, chaired by CNN's Christiane Amanpour. Hoping to post this soon after some work on it. Name dropped a good friend into the debate, Riz Khan - a keen advocate of digital technology - and now one of the big names at Al Jazeera.

When I got home I emailed him and then what emerged from our emailings to and fro was a story he kept modestly quiet about. We spoke about technology and programme making while editing a programme about the Hajj one evening and he mentioned "Oh there might be an Al Jazeera international".

Might be!@$$%$% It now emerges he started it all... well AJ approached him and he sounded out a few people, got in contact with an old manager friend and the rest is history. Humility... If you've ever met Riz, you'd understand. He'd walk into a room unassuming and beam with an extended arm the words: "hello I'm Riz Khan".

The fact that he was interviewing Bill Gates or some president earlier makes no difference to his attitude and "joe-us".

It is a lesson indeed. As journalists, seen on TV or what have you, we are no different from anyone else. The shop keeper sells essential commodities, we sell information.

But as we walk throough the corridors of this profession, we meet those who believe themselves too worthy of anyone's presence other than similar celebrities. Ah well...

And so off to aerobics again and then back to finish off a chapter on my nameless book. Hello to you if we met at Front Line and a hearty thank you to those that organised it all

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Will freelancer rule the broadcast world?

Will advances in broadcast technology lead to more and more freelance journalism? In a nutshell this is the debate being held at the Front Line Club today, which honours emerging talent through its Kurt Schork award.

Chaired by CNN’s inveterate broadcaster Christiane Amanpour this question is the low hanging fruit. There will be room to explore deeper questions, but the answer is unequivovcal: yes.

Why? Because the monopoly that consolidated broadcasting, particularly television engineered at its inception has finally been broken.

Historians will note how TV emerged more or less from the bowels of radio, which in turn was heavily linked to engineering firms producing the nuts and bolts of broadcast production and distribution.

It was and still is an incredibly highly politically charged medium, so only few, very few deep-pocketed, politically connected companies could afford to buy their way into the gathering and distribution of the message.

Manufacturing receiving equipment was a cinch; herein is the asynchronous relation in broadcasting that held back johnny-have-a-go.

The Net changes all that. The production of low cost cameras and editing gear changes all that. The ability to travel by air at monstrously low costs compared to the advent of air travel changes the scene; the allure of broadcasting and fame by proxy in journalism alters the mediascape; the deconstruction of media – a more televisual aware public as witnessed through citizen journalism - provides an understanding for changing times

Ironically, the debate comes as I’m emerging from intense contact with newspaper journalists turning to video journalism to up the content game. The BBC [no less than a DG team I'm told] sent a video journalism team to look at the Press Association and the programme I helped them set up.

More on that in a later blog. This programme may not necessarily yield more freelancers but undoubtedly there are increasingly more journalists in the field with the stock to become their own brand.

I have spoken about this in articles on and I note that broadcaster and journalist Andrew Neil said that much at last week’s society of editors meeting.

We now have the tools to do just about anything: radio, TV. Web, . . . quinne media .

And a new generation of technologically fearless, multiskilled, journalists are emerging who will push their own brand if they can’t find work or the working conditions of employers appears Victorian.

There is a greater subtext to the debate by Institute of War and Peace Reporting held on the day when they're honouring Kurt Schork – a highly experienced journalists - and there are many other names that we must pay tribute to.

Comrades who have fallen in action by merely doing their job. More recently Martin Adler – another highly experienced freelancer was short dead in Mogadishu.

The absence of readily accessible broadcast news from some of the world’s most notorious hot spots is one good reason for skilled and unskilled freelancers to make the region their own. If anything it provides a steady stream of stories plus income and sates the appetite of the curious in peeling back the complexities of an area’s politics.

That much led me to South Africa in 1992, armed with a uher and sony recorder to report from among others Katlehong – then the world’s murder capital.

Award winning video journalist Ruud Elmendorp one of the industry’s most skilled journalist started life off as a freelancer 6 years ago reporting from Central Africa. Today , the calibre of his work has led to more clients taking his pieces, but he still freelances, and each time he’s out on a story he must keep his wits about him.

This raises deeper questions of security and safety. If more experienced journalists can find their life in peril, what more those just entering the profession equipped, yes, with modern day broadcasting equipemt – dv camer and alaptop.

Some organsiations provide cover for their bona fide freelance journalists. That's security awareness, insurance, bullet proof vests et al, but for every freelancer in the bossom of a network broadcaster, there are many clamouring to suckle.

The reality is simple. There are more journalists that jobs in are industry – 100,00 grads in total with only 20,000 jobs available in a year according to BBC network’s radio 1 – a station for the 15-35s.

It’s unlikely this number will improve as more centres of journalism set up. And so statistically speaking we can presumably expect more casualties. What can we do?

Does the industry need to get together to address this? That’s just one question that I’d be interested in hearing more about today.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Make her famous

Sitting on a train wifing, my mind drifts away from all things journalistic. C'mon - there is life beyond those borders. Nancy Ginindza - a talented musician comes to mind.

I abs love her music and have used its power to convey visuals from videos I have directed including a vastly downloaded vid on Iraq with photos by award winning Yannis Kontos.

So its simple, please make her famous. Because, well, one way or another she will be. Savour this.


Meanwhile Shirley Thompson, a phenom composer has just reurned from Broadway scoring for Push. You can listen to the themes on her debut CD New Nation Rising which she's kindly let me use to mix with Yannis' reel for his award ceremony. go to

Saturday, November 11, 2006

The Tao of TV

About to post a video of me reporting on London's commercial TV Network. It's a finance and got me thinking about a myriad things.

This week the BBC held out an olive branch to newspaper publishers saying it would accept their footage, presumably alluding more favourably to "local TV"

The deal is this. The BBC with is division of video journalists has spotted a tier lower than regional TV to sell its wares. The same has been made of ITV.

Local TV is set to become a battle ground for eyes and advertising. The latter is something the BBC has no worries over, but that leaves local newspapers apoplectic with rage.

Eyes = advertising. The piece I'm posting says that much. Big sponsors now have music events firmly sowed into the corporate strategy. To have you brand flown across Glastonbury et al guarantees the ad team get the wink of approval from the CEO.

The newspapers have gone on their own offensive. Meanwhile ITN multimedia brand ( a quiet evolution) continues to grow and its online sites - localising their reach - are caching and pushing their assets.

So I'm back to video again. I'll deconstruct this for media students in the context of how video journalism may have approached this later. But meanwhile here goes. There's a bigger story in this.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Game Over - there's no such thing as broadcasting

A month ago I spoke about the erosion of singular disciplines, how the difference between broadcast and print student was soon to vanish. Was I a bit too prescient? The news this week is of a meeting of minds between the NCTJ and BJTC.

"The National Council for the Training of Journalists has said it is to work more closely with the Broadcast Journalism Training Council as the demand for multi-skilled, multi-media journalists increases". according to Hold the Front Page .

I was locked into lecturing at the time so could not attend the monthly BJTC meeting for which I am one of the members to report on this. But I'll be catching up with our secretary Jim latham et al to bring you greater detail.

Make no mistake this is a landmark moment - an irrevocable change to the media in defining what constitutes a newspaper journalist and broadcaster.

If you're a print student reading this. It's now the industry that's changing, not the imagination of those who pass you by in the corridors. Is this good news? You could easily argue course not, but it is change that's taking place.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

007 and some

Casino Royale starts its rounds to flush out the fakes. 007 is the real deal and with a new Bond at the helm you can bet your last hand, movie bosses will be going big on this. So I wanted to know what the real intel chiefs thought. This interview was recorded before Casino Royale was slated but gives a good impression of the life of real 007 agents.

I appreciate EX CIA chief, James Woolsey, for giving me his time in Washington DC.

Meanwhile is it video journalism or not and what makes good vj - the debate apparently was a key issue at the Society of Eds meeting in Glasgow. I couldn't go but here's my 20 second take.

There is vjism by dint of one person holding a camera and then there's vjism that seeks to create a new lingua franca to that which dominates traditional TV. Put simply there are photographers and very good ones and there are photojournalists. One must capture the moment for the front page. The other attempts to contextualise a reportage with an appropriate shot. They're both snappers. There are VJs and Vjs - both do a job. I would like to think man with a movie camera ( geddit) is re-inventing/breaking rules.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

What is this... ?

I had in mind today to speak to someone I have a lot of respect for after sharing a podium with him in the US last year. Naka Nathaniel works for the New York Times, as a Video Journalist /writer etc and is just about to set off to Dafur.

This time with his correspondent Nicholas D. Kristof, a columnist for The NYT they're providing a piggy back for NBC. Naka and Kristof have been to Dafur a number of times and its mightly encouraging to see that his newspaper continues to bring news of the region to its readers through Naka and Nicholas' efforts.

I started off recording the session with this contraption above. It is state of the art mp3 and if you've ever used a uher before this really is like way beyond anything.

Half way through however and the devices capture card gave up ( hahaha ) I hear you snigger. So we switched to skype and a nifty device called audio capture that allows you to record sound coming out of your mac. The free version only allows ten minutes a pop, but its worth a future investment.

So to the questions.. Naka talks about video journalism and a question being adressed by the Front Line Club about freelance journalism and the future.

Join in the debate nearer the time when I hope to put up a range of views forward for us to discuss.

Science woes

British Students shunning science screams the headlines. Notwithstanding the brilliant number of scientists in academia and industry, perhaps a more acute bit of navel gazing is required.

My first attempt to continue my science studies- a degree in Chemical Engineering - ended in tragedy. After three weeks on the course at a uni I won't name crammed into a class of 60 plus, with a lecturer who was so monumentally unispiring it was time to leave.

But the real worries was the p**s poor salaries on offer back in the 80s and I doubt its changed much. I'll post a feature piece I made for BBC Reportage, The Brain Drain.

Verdcit: many students, researchers were high tailing to the US where they receive more money and recognition.

Until somebody adresses this and the bias to business qualifications ( media is a belated fad) then the UK will continue to haemorrhage.

Incidently I did complete my degree in Applied Chemistry but by the time I'd got passed my second year, I'd already begun freelancng for BBC radio, realising the sciences and all the additional maths, integration, Newtonian mechanics, organic chemistry was not for me - as a career.

This morning I have just been looking at my notes from Uni on Nucleophilic attacks

Saturday, November 04, 2006

5 am shadow

Busily putting some flesh on a discussion piece I'm writing for the Press Gazette and the piece more or less wrote itself emerging from my turn of last alpha sleep at 5

It's really annoying and happens quite often. The result you lay awake reading fluidily in your head the words of the article unfold. Go back to bed and you lose any connection with the other world and the crystallisation of your package.

Ah well.

Mmm I am making mischief. Now let it stew and return again for a stir. Not cricket to reveal its contents, so, er sorry can't say much. No it has nothing to do with D-Notices or offical this or that.

Quick look inside FTP of Viewmag. Any hope now of a few dark eye winks are kissed good bye. Something is happening with the traffic. It's 3000 up already and I have found some new interest from Taiwan. Hello there if you're reading this. Fat chance me thinks.

a friend has posted me the most exquisite site to look at Yum And now for the fun stuff. Answers on a post card what would you do to enhance it. Kevin drives and tests cars for a living. Don't sniff. Here he has the Aston Martin and then the Jag and then heavens knows what.

I once had him get this amazing car while a freelance at Channel 4 News. We wired the whole thing up courtesy of the ITN Q department and drove around London. I'll tell you what happened next some other time.

9. 00
Surely time for sustsenance. My thoughts cast to PGDip work. Look at the sites. Then MAJI - who are doing tele soon.

9.15 My Mac and I must end our liaison for the morning. there is a life out there, but before I put on my running shoes and get ready fot morning aerobics oh yes I l* o%^o k o86u4 t si887&%%^de and n@@@oti zz Zz Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Friday, November 03, 2006

Creative radio

So if you're an avid BBC Radio 4 Today fan, did you share in the moment of "quick pretend no one's listening" when they attempted to have morse code emerge from the bowels of their studio, only to realise that after a good minute plus, going on for eternity, the beep, beep, dooh, beeeeps was bordering on the Monty Python.

It was a great piece of original radio idea, but i guess the producer forgot to ask how long it takes to transmit a sentence. Answer, for ever.

So as Mr morse code is merrily clicking away, one can only imagine the studio manager and item producer, plus editor screaming " enough" tempting the presenter to try and find a natural break to intervene, which she did on a couple of occasions to no avail.

I bet they had an almighty laugh after the show.

Next week a man attempts to hold his breath for the world record, except the producers didn't realise that's eight minutes, 58 seconds.

Web Video

" Web video is hard to do, and even harder to do well. Many are dabbling, but if anyone has found a real business model to support quality visual journalism in the multimedia world, let us know"

This from, Jay DeFoore, writing for a well respected photo

So I posted a reply:

Dirck Halstead continues to clear a thorny path for many of us to peer at a future which attempts next generation TV.

My mantra after more than 10 years of professional small video camera use convinces me that video journalism of a kind that redefines television's compositional arrangment for news and docs will emerge from a photojournalistic stanza.

I use a photo from award winning photo journalist Yannis Kontos to instruct would-be videojournalists. "If you can tell or understand how Yannis captures this image" I say, "you're half way there".

Whether we choose to do video journalism is a question. Is it difficult? That needs qualifying. Nothing is ever easy to start off in our trade.

But the newspapers in the UK are having a go and I think I managed to deconstruct enough of it to take the sting away addressing one of the UK's most successful newspaper publishers.

Incidentally it's not the be all business model, but newspapers with VJs in the UK are now selling their footage to broadcasters which includes the BBC. Stranger things could happen.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

London goes digital

It was a while coming. In 2000 Viacom UK contacted myself and colleagues to help them fashion a new kind of advertising. XTP would revolutionise the Underground. Our task was to visualise 5 degrees of motion. What?

Simple. On the one hand varying degrees of animation and movement would mean different revenues, but also equally important the implications of a moving ad on the Underground have serious health and safety aspects.

So we experimented with a few ads under the guidance of Viacom UK and came up with five ads pitched at Imagination's HQ. I'll be featuring an article on this on with all the ads at the time and how we came to develop them.

The stills here are froma video where we developed the brief of sporting london. Jon Staton, former head of TV at Saatchi and Saatchi could find a helicopter at short notice of you wanted one.

In this case something less adventurous, we hired out some studios and I directed a couple of sports men and women in. We then comped that in After Effects

Gosh 22,000 visitors to - and I have the Berlin awards to be thankful for that. I'm going to be posting some more stories from the awards soon. Tomorrow hope to be interviewing Naka Nathaniel about video journalism in expectation of a Front Line Club debate on technology and the future.

One of my closest mates from Medecins sans frontiere has brought over the most strangest looking device. You'll see it tomorrow. It is the future of podcasting and MP3 and looks like a stun gun.

And finally Westmins postgrad journalists are on the verge of something. But this is strictly Chatham House rules so that's all I can say

Spies within us

A sample of David's DNA mashed up

My family did no wrong, but the question is are we on the national DNA database? For within the realms of science fiction meets science fact we are project beta - the first use of DNA finger printing outside of a criminal case.

The first deployment of this forensic science was a criminal case. The second, and the fist time it was used to prove a custody case Sarbah vs Regina (the state) was my family.

So should this DNA print now exist in the police's vast ID bank. No! Do I know it exists there? No. In any case it shouldn't.

There is a wider debate fashioning and one that I remember from a conference in Leicester a decade plus ago featuring Baroness Warnock et al

You've been Goggled
Google surpassing ITV and Channel 4 News. Proof of the reach of the net ( some "@£%!! luddites are still dismissing it). There is a future waiting for us that melds tele, no video vision on the net and myspace + is about to come closer to that.

That much I'll be writing about in an open discusion piece for the UK press Gazette in a fortnight's time

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Bye bye brilliant Berlin

Absolutely barking ( British expression for mad).

They did everything possible on stage: cry, scream, brood, even **ck - though the particpants kept their clothes on. Peter my newest friend warned me before we entered. "Don't fall asleep".

How did he know? Visiting South Africa for the first time back in 1992 I was given the Vip treatment to a concert for the multi talented singer/ violinist Sibongele Khumalo. I fell asleep. My host's neighbour, one Cheryl Carolus would become South Africa's high commissioner to the UK and each time I bumped into her she would threaten to tell all. "How could you sleep through a stellar concert".

But in the end, here, it was my host on the verge of catching 40 winks. The production, oh sorry I should have have made that clear was called Baumeister Solness by henrik Ibsen and not a word of it was spoken in English but I had the time of my life.

I even, serendipity, managed to laugh in the right place. Ab-so-lu-tel-y barking mad. Essentially the production revolves around the expressions of architecture over a period, with a property magnate intertwinning his life around a myriad of wierdly wonderful people who change expression at the drop of a hat.

Frankly the actors must have been exhausted. I was just watching them. Ibsen, doesn't do gentile.

It's not the fist time I have walked into a production with not one iota of language reckoning.

In France once, I went to see Paparzi - a film about those exhaustive photographers who snapped away at the Late Lady Diana. As I neared the ticket collector her hand reached out in front of me. "You know zis is in French".

I must have "made in the UK" cattle-branded on my forehead. But back to Solness. Wow!

Apparently it's a new production in Berlin's theatre land by a director unafraid to take risks and bent on winning over new patrons. However when I looked around, more often than not I was in a room of bank managers and senior manageresses. Yes even the actors are bemused by the clientelle.

Later one of the lead actors ( Mmm my host Peter has good connections) would join us with his girlfriend, also an actor. We spoke about method acting and how he had five productions on the go on any one day. Does he ever forget who he's supposed to be I asked. "Nein, you never forget". Peter lives and breathes the acting profession and he was the most matter-of-fact person I had encountered in a long while giving blunt opinions on his fellow actors.

I won't betray his trust. It was a private chat and he was not to know that I have a prediliction for blogging, but wow, I'm glad at least he liked me enough to talk to me, cuz he could be a real so and so if he didn't.

So just as I had started off privy to German efficiency, so it ended that way. Bye bye brilliant Berlin - a city that boasts little about its offerings. Where money oozes from the cracks of new brand titles stores. Where young hip things take over the streets. Where all taxi drivers are bedevilled by the thought that they are Schumacher (Formula One) and must drive like a bat out of hell and where memories of pass-it-on will live with me for long.

For as I received my prize from winning in one of the videojournalism catergories I was handed a bouquet of flowers. Splendid! But what was I to do with it and I certainly had no intention of taking it back on a plane.

So as I walked through the foyer of the Park Inn, two ladies in their 60s gushed at the arrangement. It was in German of course, but it was the language of universal admiration, so I did what I'm gradually getting used to. I turned on my heel and handed it to one of them who blushed, accepted, and I acknowledged with a salute. Alas I did not enquire upon her name.

But it is good to receive and equally exciting to give.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

suffer for art

Suffering for one's art has many examples of righteous dedication and film makers are by no means immune, nay, there are the best example of this syndrome. But today's film is reminder of the art of suffering in order to bring something special.

The evening was spent watching this year's nominations for the 3rd videojournaism awards - the biggest to date, with some 420 entrants from 42 countries.

The films scrolled by, in part because I paid a visit to the other side of consciousness. Yes, I'm certfiably mashed. But did have the presence of mind to pin my eye lids back long enough to take in a majority.

They're all superb - I'm not being political. A film on alzheimer's was too painful to watch. The wasting illness took my father and I remember the last moments all too vividly. Psychiatric patients in India abandoned by family and friends inspite of some recovering was too short. I wanted more.

Self flagellating voyerism had me sit through my own submission, 8 Days - a thoroughly wierd experience. It's the first time it's been outside my study in its entirety. People laughed.

Sabine, the organiser of this wondrous event asked whether they laughed at the right spots. I confess I never had any right spots, so it was nearly as new to me watching my film on the outside knowing that others were watching it as well.

12.00 and after another night of the long knives, once again my internal clock is beginning to shut down my body's control centre. Grrrrhh

But it's been a resourceful day, topped of with the screening, and a moment of genius visiting a Vietnamese restaurant which had me salivating to near dribbling.

Sleeping Rough / Platte machen (WDR) - winner of the special prize of the jury is a must see film for many reasons. It has all the emotions packaged into a tight wrapper which explode slowly in the mouth.

As the name suggests, it's about homelessness, but the VJ team undertaking this story did not parachute in and out. They went through the pain and bitter cold nights with their subjects. It was intimate, open, frank, with at no time the any intruding of the journalists into the story.

It is a film you would want to make, but perhaps may think the cost a tad too high, for it snows, temperatures freeze over and the wretchedness of rough sleeping is evident. please watch this film.

See yer tomorrow

Friday, October 27, 2006

Calm before storm

Ok so it might have been a bit foolhardy of me. But the previous night we ( new found friends) went out for a drink and at 1.Oclock decided I needed to turn in.

"Right, go out there, turn left and keep walking for 15 mins"

Go out there and keep walking turned into 30 mins more like it, with my antenna radioing in on my surroundings and whether I was safe. Breaking my walking patterns - cadet boarding school taught me that much - created the illusion I was partially barking and lost - but I was assured I'd be safe and was, and actually really felt no different from traipsing down London at an equivalent time.

"But don't go further east" was a side caveat I won't forget. That's where the, er, yes, hang out.

This morning, distance again has been under cooked, but we're of to see Christoph Dowe - a political heavyweight blogger, who we find in good form organising an e-chat conference from his company and behalf of a e-learning and a couple of unis.

A young intern from Holland, Bas, catches my eye. At 21 he has a clear idea what interests him and how far he'll go for an internship. 4 more months lay ahead before he goes back to Holland.

What strikes one about East Berlin is the Bohemia; the cultural sashay of this vibrant part that we're in. Every turn is brand mania, commercialism e.g. Reebok, Pepe, Nike and a slew that are boutiquesh.

There's an upwardly mobile feel of the cafe society, blended with the ruins off the old Berlin. The architecture can hold you in awe.

But I'm here for the awards, not a spot of sight seeing. But it's been instructive nonetheless.

There is a hiatus at the moment, rooms being refurnished, chairs being prepped. A radio journo from DW has just interviewed me and for once I remember to slow down.

If you know how I talk you'll get my drift. Food, ah! Food. I'm famished but there is no shortage of what I'd like. A quick Falafal and humous. THere is a sizeable Turkish, Arabic community here, so I'm told.

Downstairs, an MD from one of the big networks is waiting to give me an interview. Can't keep him waiting.

real time blog

The Vj thing is taking off. That at least is the impression sitting in a 100 seater cinema room In East Berlin surrounded by Berlin's/Germany broadcast-media industry and a few invited guests.

The chap talking now and forgive my pregnant pauses ( you can't see them) is speaking in German and is being translated by a colleague, who is busily working away otherwise I'd ask her name ( shame on me)

The lights have now gone down, but what I could gather was that there is an appetite for change.

First film has a nice visual edit. It's a 2 camera combining the VJs cut and what looks like a digi-beta pro camera.

They're laughing; the audience. The film shows men in white coats playing milk urns like they were trumpets. Apparently the young inetrviewee on screen has a thick accent - drawing handfuls of laughter.

Second film - also visually arresting. Good quality and everyone is the room is engaged again. More laughter. Lots of fluid movement with the cameras - evidence that this is not traditional shoot.

Behind me is Ruud - a well known VJ who shoots out of Kenya and central Africa. Some really good stuff he generates. I have just done an interview which I'll post soon about freelance and technology. Interesting answer but then what would you expect from someone who has a firm command of the language of solojo and VJ technology.

Woops just had to stand uo to intro myself. Am I too brief, too long? :"

Back to film - more howls of laughter. Kate, a journalist at DW -is translating. Yes apparently this is Hillbilly ( derogatory!!) ie is if I've picked the rightt adjective.. accents way too strong, more laughter.

And now I'll watch some of the films myself.... laters. sign of 10.43 berlin time

Monday, October 23, 2006

Netisens to digiratis

Net's done. Sorry. PGDIP Journalism has gone through its two weeks run, with hopefully an inversion of the Rumfeld aphorism. ie there are some things we don't know, but there are some things we thought we didn't know, but do know now.

Should launch the sites fairly soonish and then get marks back to authors. But I say that frankly if you've built something you're pleased with and peers feedback the same thing, don't let marks be the pebble in the shoe.

Going to try something with the help of Howard Rheingold whose book Smart Mobs is a must read and PGDips/ Masters. There are about 3 discos going on regarding media thought.
a) Will technology force freelance future?
b) Will TV die and evolve as something new in the coming years. NB Tele - will anyone be teleporting vision, when it's ported through the net
c) What unis will look like in the future?

The idea is to attract a smart mob and in pyramidical fashion have the mob attract others. At various conferences I have attended such as We Media, the kind of event blogging in real time proves an appropriate sensor of the unfolding of time and opinions.

So hello Howard, PGDips et al

Meanwhile, we wait. . . actually I meant I wait refering to something else. An email that dropped by has me curiously waiting intrigued by a possibe reply. OK, so it read briefly from the FTSE company: "We would like you to come and speak to our leaders. . .".

But then I should know better from my own strictures: emails are very rarely returned swiftly, very rarely replied to first time, and then only when the recipient has the demands of needs = wants fulfilment in mind.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Speed lecturing

I believe we've borrowed an old word for an old subject and made it look new: speed lecturing. Masters and PGDips are handing in online assignments that has taken them all but two weeks to do from a standing start.

It's been like that for the couple of years I have been handling online, but this year we're building a wiki ( of sorts) with a number of preofessional bodies looking to link to the.

I'll be putting together an aricle about modular versus function versus solution learning at some time on

My errant :) Mastes student who I'm superviding from another university The London College of Printing showed. She has a wonderful project which surfs the tide of Christian films and is now in the "innovative phase" - the Apprentice moment - to see how she can market etc, so we had one of those agency brain storming moments.

During my days as a broadcaster, I also worked for Jon Staton, the ex head of TV at Saatchi and Saatchi. He is now a mentor and dear friend and I'm grateful for the experience of ideas harvesting that he would take me through.

Apple UK had a very nice journalist pass by. Nicola and I spoke about many things, some of which I know I'm bound to have said the unsayable.

Look forward to seeing the piece which should go up soon.

Time to go carb up!

Friday, October 13, 2006

The new new journos

My niece has been doubling as my agent, hence in a couple of weeks time I am due to visit her school and speak to secondary school students.

It will be both exhilirating and illuminating.

At Council I have often spoken to our secretary Jim about talking to students about a career in journalism much earlier than the standard university/pos grd approach.

Much of the "Myspace" innovation is happening within the pre and secondary school cycle, which is where to win hearts and minds of how to translate online thinking to the new journalism.

My Experience
I remember by the time I had opted for a degree in Applied Chemistry, I'd already written for my college mag. I remember the piece well. It was about the doomsday scenario of a Neutron Bomb

I must have been about 13 with a night torch in my bunker at boarding school and it lit my imagination of fear.

But I had no mentor or supporters for journalism and lost the zeal for a couple of years.

A couple of years back at Ravensbourne School of Arts and Design, I was asked to look at a bridging course.

These are students, who perhaps would be on the phone, chewing gum, answering emails, playing itunes as you spoke to them - yes a bit like those hollywood films.

The one with Sidney Pottier comes to mind. (Who's Sidney you ask??)

The first day was fairly riotous, but I was given carte blanche so went to the camera stores and brought up two 40,000 pound cameras and handed it to them to take apart, then go outside for 40 mins and shoot.

They were gobsmacked. The room fell silent, then burst into a frenzy of activity.

Was I afraid I wouldn't see those cameras again? It did cross my mind.

At one school I went to whilst reporting at BBC Feature strand I had water, paper etc hurled at me. Unruly doesn't even come close.

By the time the students came back to the room, I had 12 disposal cameras ready. They were to shoot anything, bring it back and then we'd work the big cameras.

In the ensuing weeks we learned about vertog, Grierson and had a great time deconstructing modern media.

It came as no surpise then that three years later a media grad would call me up for an interview and a reference. Yes, a couple of them went to university.

Faking it. Wanting it
Nothing to do with me by the way, You've got to want this, I often say, because as exhilirating and exciting as this career choice is it's also one of the cruelest.

There simply aren't enough jobs to accomodate for the 80 percent of grads who want to work in the media, so if they want to work and succeed then it's worth knowing what's ahead.

Many students will go on to become huge names in the industry. There are three ballasts, no four to help you.

1. * Family connections - Has mum, dad, brother, niece worked here before?
2. * Background - What school, clubs, hobbies do you have? Who have you previously worked for?
3. * Bloody hard work ethic and passion - Who is the Shadow Chancellor? Who is General Sir Richard Dann?
4. * Good luck -serendipity, the law of averages, sods law, there is No such thing as luck you create your own

Some of these you can control I say. Others are out of your hands, but if I know now what I could have know back then then I know what I would be doing.

That's why I'm looking forward to talking to my niece's school. Because if nothing else their ferociously fearless attitude to the youtube culture, their passion for the mash and smash will teach me a thing or two.

That's why I do this, The search for that quid pro quo of satisfaction

Here for Postcode -young people learning film

Dear David
Thanks for the postcode link found that to be a useful guide and will track down
the books on Television Production.
I begin slotting together a schedule for my young group and definitely, get them
to try out the 3:6:9 principle with interviews.
I will definitely be keeping an eye on the site.

Hello Shuwin

Thanks for reaching out to me. And yes apologies re my site. Part of it the
pdfs are yet to be put in place. I'm afraid been a wee busy.
Sounds great what you're trying to achieve. I had a little bit experience with a group here but truthfully I'm no expert. My own experience is that videojournalism has
such rigorous demands that the idea of being a one man/woman shooter making
films seems less demanding. I often tell my groups that they need to
understand Tv first before I then tell them to forget everything they've
Young people will then heckle back: Well sir, wots the point in that . . .

In a nutshell to do VJ well today is to be a good photojournalist. That is a
photojournalist with a moving camera will technically make a good VJ. Good luck and do blog your exploits for all, me included, to read.

Hi David,

I first read about you and your innovative Videojournalist work in a copy of the Sony magazine " The
Producer", from either 2000 or 2001 and have been meaning to get in touch
or attend one of the many seminars, which examine and showcase the use of digital video, story documenting and reporting.
I was hoping to attend last years Black Creativity talk at the ICA and I was unavailable to make the Broadcast live show at the Apple stand to view the videojournalism presentation.

As your part of your site is still being developed I was unable to download the pdf for tips, innovations from the site, but I did need to get in contact. I am planning to work on a few short documentaries and a youth project documenting the history and influence of reggae music in the UK.

Part of my reason of contacting you, is that I plan to run a video production workshop for young people and would like to incorporate some of the same techniques employed in video journalism, in a quick digestable format for this group of 15-19 year olds.

So as well as being media literate they can also learn about form and content are the any sites or reference areas you could direct me to where these techniques have been employed by young people as filmmakers or vj's.

I plan to use the work and lessons learned from this project to submit as case study material towards a skillset project link info is

Freelance media tutor

Monday, October 09, 2006

the blec - web lecture

The past, present and trend extrapolating into a future. In a 2 hour lecture, David Dunkley Gyimah explores media issues with Masters and PGDip Journalists.

This is the link to powerpoint deconstructed below and is not an easy hit in one sitting. The issues are kneaded, pummelled, looked at through often unconventional perspectives.

It is hydra which requires further attention, so please add to the comments for a republish.

lecture [blec] link here

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


Could we be nearing a states where print journalism courses no longer exist? Near enough, if reports how unis are shaping their modules is anything to go by. So far they're hearsay, so need confirming. But something's going on. At Westmin, a multimedia studio is in the offing, with everything that may bring.


Could we be nearing a states where print journalism courses no longer exist? Near enough, if reports how unis are shaping their modules is anything to go by. So far they're hearsay, so need confirming. But something's going on. At Westmin, a multimedia studio is in the offing, with everything that may bring.

Meanwhile, 18 doughty street

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

future of online

Been a couple of interesting days with the start of the postgrad online journalism course and visits by Bobbie Johnson, Technology Reporter, The Guardian and Dominic Tuohy formerly of the Editors forum.

Both were illuminating in assessing the future of online and providing fibre for a secondary debate about the role of Universities in supplying talent to the market.

Bobbie spoke about how important blogs were, particularly for any one wanting a look in at The Guardian. We looked at a future where journalists would earn their crust by acess per view. If you're a good reporter you'll attract a constituent in the same way a DJ can move with his/her fanbase, we'll get to a point when the question asked by the editor is: how many readers do you have?
Dominique spoke about the bottom up approach. Newspapers may not likely go under now but they were under threat. That whilst the buzz words are web 2.0 - share, talk, distribute - this was sloganeering for a raft of newspaper who hadn't yet made any decision to embrace new habits and tools.

The threat of change is something which attacks a basic human condition and a once predictable livelihood. Bobbie has a firm grip and utterly refreshing outlook as both a newspaper reporter and online writer and rolls together points often ignored, overlooked by many.

We should do this again I mused. Next time havee a whole class and become one of our visiting lectureres. I hope he accepts.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Post Armani

So I told what happened to me to the conference. They laughed. perhapes it was my histrionics.
Back home and i have had two interesting requests to become a panelist. Now putting the final toouches to the two programmes I'll be lecturing in at Uni.
Grrr Was supposed to have met Howard Rheingold, but we missed other. However, good news. Global Voices won the batten Awards. fab site, you really should take a peak. So who gets to spend the 10,000 USD and who keeps the award??
Feeling a bit restless at the mo. So much I should be doing that I'm not. Ho hum

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Armani tragedy

So I'm asked" "anything in your bag, liquids etc
er, no
And then just as I'm turning into the departure gate I remember. I open my bag and in there, a 50 ukp bottle of Armani.
I pace up and down, realising the inevitable.
"Is there anyway I can get this on board", I ask the airline personnel.
So what do you do. For 15 minutes I walk the length of the concourse looking out into the car park. Is there somewhere I can hide this and pick it up later. C'mon my niece bought this for me as a birthday pressie.
10 minutes to boarding and I still haven't found a solution and with all the scare over recent terror incident, my actions I fear may even arise suspicion.
Damn it. I'm about to throw a perfectly full bottle of expensive, sentimental eau de toilette away.
That's it. I storm outside to departures and home in on a 6 footer - a teenager.
His mum and brother eye me suspiciously.
"Dyou see this" I say. "I don't know you from a bar of soap", I add spraying myself, "but this here is about to go in the bin. Do you want it". I spray myself again. He nods vigorously and breaks into a smile. I have parted with my gift. As I turn way, I look back at him.
"what's you name? At least I have got to know your name?"
And that was that.

10 things about Denmark - Arhus

Touched down at Billund airport - an airport unwrapped from a catalogue - pine and chrome - did someone say ikea
Roads very clean
Having dark hair def makes you stand out
The traffic lights count down to when its safe to cross
Everyone stops at the lights - no j-walking
The cheapest deoderant cost 16 ukp equivalent
Is everything so dear here.
The people are nice - they don't so that yikes you're invading my space when you go up to ask a question
The hotel I'm staying in apparently Madonna and her crew stayed here. No I haven't arrived.
The resturaunt where we had dinner serves food as if it were art, Delicious but you half feel guilty at destroying this culinary architecture
Tomorrow -

10 things I should have done before coming to Denmark

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Good Will Hunting

confucius say. . . Perhaps I needed reminding. In one corner today's activity, a meeting with a high powered chinese delegation, which I intend to publish the VJ piece about this soon. In another corner, the good people in Denmark, whom I;ll be addressing next week on the onset of video journalism.

I'm currently putting the power point presentation together, and am quite enjoying. I went scurryng across the net looking for articles on video journalism only to find, er very little. So like Victor kaem, the bloke who likes razors so much he bought the company, I have written my own opus.

But then to another corner and this is something that I find difficult to keep mum about. You know, the person who puts pressure on you to attend a meeting. The result of which you're a bit ambiguous. Then calls another meeting, which you again break hell and high water to attend. Makes promises and then asks you to attend another meeting. You once again oblige. Then then make some nice-to-the-ear comments, pledge support for that which you discussed then Nada, nilch, none, zero, the big cahoot, raspery.

At this point you're searching around for some good will, cuz you're being stretched. Then the lights go one. You take a big pen and rub them out of your contacts book, and your karma is restored. Confucius' say.. should learn self-discipline, now that's good will hunting

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The rise of the broadbandcaster

Day two at the Broadcast Live show and I'm looking forward to enjoying this.

The previous day I overloaded the presentation - amateur! But this time I'm adressing simple premises. What is videojournalism? Why it's day has come and how does it work.

Figuring this out means I can slow down abd enjoy the company of those present. Byron (Apple supremo) has lent me his PDA to record audio for a pod. Hopefully I'll get that soon to post.

But in essence the whole presentation revolves around the idea that anyone can be, and will be a broadbandcaster, vlogger or videocaster.

The obvious examples are rocketboom, currenttv, and for social sharing: you tube and metacafe. Yep I'm aware there are lots more e.g. blinx, but I'm limited by time.

As far as my very limited knowledge goes, barring the networks, there appears to be no real beast of a videocast dealing with news. That's not withstanding the likes of Geek TV (tech news). But I mean news of the network TV stuff, so videojournalism, plus broadcasting on broadband is ripe for the picking.

The previous day I bumped into the managing director of Channel One - the first videojournalism outfit in the UK; it was modelled on New York One. The UK wasn't ready back then in 1994, so C1 suffered a slow atrophy, but judging from what Julian hinted, the next year could be interesting.

Got the chance at this years conf to talk to a number of people; sometimes these conf can max you out. are interesting: ads in a moving image way. And then I had quite a superb 10 minute cranium massage. The practitioner, a slight attractive woman with the grip of a gladiator said I had lots of knots in me.


And with that time to head home and prepare dinner, influenced by watching the tale end of a day time television programme Richard and Judy. And now its time to hit the sack. Early rise tomorrow 5 ish tp catch a two hour journey train to preston.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

An apple a day

Being asked by Apple UK to present my views on creativity and videojournalism has its downside.
there are many ups as well. But presenting to an audience who are fluid: walking in and oout of your talk, can be daunting. That didn't worry me that much, but had i guaged the length and substance of my talk properly. Perhaps not, Byron, Apple's uber creative and the person responsible for pulling me in, seems to think I did a good job. Perhaps he was being nice. I rambled and on various ocassions lamented at the lack of time available.
So I thought I'd streamline the talk for the next day. Fat chance. I cricked my neck on my way home carrying all my gear, so even writing this has become a bind. And then, at 10 my son has an accident. The toilet lid.. yes.. and he's in pain, so off to casualty I go. THree hours of non-event I emerge. The doctor says we should monitor his progress. I'm reminded that whilst I believe doctors and nurses are exceptional, the flow of information is like waading in treacle. You've got to pull it out begrudgingly.. so I guess I never got to change the site after all. Wish me well for tomorrow. I may very well need it

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Site and sight

Had breakfast.
Marked Uni papers
Online to look at Uni news stories
refined content on broadband site
ate light lunch
back to site
film former students now producers in India and Lithuania talking about their time at Uni
Answered emails -
took a call fom a friend .. wants to work at GMTV
Get ready to go over for Chat at Channel 4
Good chat with Mark Roberts about citizen journalism
Friend rings up for meeting with futher education group wanting to set up bridging programme for students with
Think about whether I should go to the gym - I do. Not much energy in me, buut get through aerobics programme.
More film cutting to be posted to the American Institute, grr Drive goes down. Order new extreme drive.
more emails. Rob Chiu has just met and talked on the same platform as Kyle Cooper and Neville Brody
Oh invite to New Media do.
Missed Dinner.....
Veg out on some ITV prog about celebrirties crowing
Time to hit the sack

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

TV isn't dead: Apple's broadcasting future

Driving to visit a friend in Four Ways, a Northern Joburg surburb in South Africa, I'm struck by what I see.

A security check point at the mouth of his well-to-do address controls the flow of traffic and people into his street, which breaks into a small town, furnished with all the necessary amenities for the community.

The analogy is not so far fetched for Apple.

Having staked its logoed flag in the terrain of desk top publisher, I-Movie auters and I-Tunes twisters, to name a few, the company has now become neighbourly to a new community.

The public delivered brand loyalty and a mass movement uptake to its poduct range, but this one consisting of professional broadcasters delivers a relevance of how television is shaping here, now and the future.

Oh yes, the Internet may have a radical transformative effect on what we watch, but television, says conference attendant Adrian Scott, from The Bakewell consultancy, will still be a force for the future.
So Apple's executive briefing to broadcasters reveals how well it's set up store in Media "Four ways" with other partners offering everything to all.

The gathering in corporate surroundings, just off its Regent's Street store, was an opportunity to see new work flows - the taking in and putting out of media.

And by default, the chance to oggle at some new professional toys.
The buzz word appears to be "partnerships" with the likes of Sony, Norcom, and Popwire all bringing a dish to the tech table.

"The real challenge though is getting broadcasters to understand what the technology can do for them", says Mr Scott.

The big beasts of broadcasting, with a strong foot in news, have until now included AVID Newscutter, BASYS, Quantel and ENPS.
But Apple's broadcast solution and new partners seeks to offer alternatives across the board.

A couple that stood out include the multiple window play-to- edit application on Final Cut. Live editing using multiple source cameras just got easier.

Whilst Norcom's add-on to Final Cut allows broadcasters to match scripts to pictures without physically counting three words to the second for a match.

Then there's Popwire, which boasts on its goody take home - a software CD - that its Compression Master 4 delivers industrial strength media encoding. I'm yet to try it out.

Whilst these innovations are specifically targeted at professionals, hence their price range; the Sony XDCam cost about 50,000 Euros, there could be a long tail benefit.

If Apple's record in the low entry level market is anything to go by, then perhaps at some point, consumers may well sample some of these broadcast solutions at tiered market prices.

Now that would be neighbourly.


Monday, May 08, 2006

Damn if anyone knows

Isn't that it really? A digital reformation with eyes wide open. So we're all media makers. Granted some are better than others. Some people have spent a life time and earned serious gong power. So that's no way to treat the profession. But if you look back to Addison and Steele 17th and later scraps with parliament. The law makers forgot to issue licenses and it ebcae a free for all, wev've been here before.

So the trick is safeguarding a profession but embracing the market place. Now for once the idea of Sach's free market forces doesn't sound like a good idea. But film makera have been wrestling and taming those same, albeit slightly different data, forces.

If you build it and it better damn well be good they will come. If you're good, I guess we can all go home safe in the knowledge that we'll make it. For lurking in the wings are youth so clued up on the latest immersive media that frankly, yes, I did consider this, a worth trade such as plumming ( 60 p/hr plus) comes to mind.

We hate change, but that's exactly where we find ourselves and whether a broadcaster embraces this or not, change is a happening. It happened/ is happening in the music industry, manufacturing (c.f China's trade deficit - electronic goods) and is having a good go in print. cf You and Yours today - the e-screen or the program I'm doing with The Press Association

So buzzers at the ready for five what was teh name of the institution that showed the rest of the wrold how to produce quality programmes. The year in question 2050. Somehow forces are trying to prevent this, but how well can they see the future?

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Citizen wotsitsname - that film (wemedia


Everyone knows the film, even if they can't remember the talented director. The film has become part of our visual landscape and set a standard for those who would follow.

And the film was. . . the one that showed the beating of Rodney King, the film showing the botched landing of a plane on the sea off the coast of East Africa, images from London's tube, from 911, Hurricane Katrina and there are countless many more.

These were films made by Citizen Joe and Josephine. Citizen Journalism has been here as long as we've told stories. In the late 1600s leading to 1700s in the UK, story telling turned professional. Addison and Steele, famed for Tatler and the Spectator, both of whom had different professions, could loosely count as early flag bearers of a name that today is a red flag to many.

So citizen journos are not a new phenomenon, but like an army has been professionalised. And on the theme of the army, we might count it's citizen contributors as members of the Territorial Army - citizens who have their day job, but enlist all the same. No one gets heated about that. Oh, I'm being naive.

It's not whether we embrace CJ or not. It's here, has been here, and ain't going anywhere. In fact the digital economy will ensure CJs increase in number. Some organisations have welcomed blogs, but that's just one facet of the digital journalist.

There is more we could do, much much more. Not because we're compelled to, but because we're interested and need to facilitate greater understanding, education, entertainment and participation amongst ourselves. CJ adds to that. Listen to the CJ podcast and to panelist Rachel North - one of the survivors of July 7th bombing.

So to my one contribution - a perhaps nonsensical idea. Emily Bell ( Guardian ) said this morning, most of the UK's TV talent is in reality TV. So the programme is this. Broadcasters who claim to have the CJ firmly in site should set up a CJ model news made by guess who to compete with their own bulletins.

The broadcasters facilitate the making of the programme offering support but the editorial comes from we the people. If YouTube and Metacafe are anything to go by, it should make an interesting programme. It may even have a shelf life on broadband.

The best film ever, Citzen Kane? Or was that made by you.

p.s I'll blog my thoughts on what I thought of the Citizen Journalist debate , as one of the panelists later

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Interactive news: long live news

So just why are we so bound in convention when it comes to embracing innovation? It's a comfort blanket. Charlie Brown's sleeping friend: we do because we know it worked. But as was said in fight club. "Jut leg go".

Here are a few things that have risen out of wise men and women in the media saying let it be so.

1. A presenter must sit behind a huge desk. In your home, it would invite comments of the inferior complex
2. Why do they happy talk on air?
3. Why are news outlets so limiting in their output: 70 perecent of accessible news on the day doesn;t get shown
4. Why can't we choose our own news as we do with content on Sky+?
5. Why do you have to go to an Ivy league or Oxbridge to stand as near hope as possible to get into the media?
6. Why is video news confined to designated news outlets only. Why can't, say, any organisation create its own news based on firm journalistic principles?

7. Ok I have some idea of (1) &(2). Social blogging may go some way to addressing the aforementioned.

And finally, why couldn't you present a news value show with film-style contextualisation and make the text interactive? You can. Got o the view to have a look.

What do you think about 1-7?

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

What's on your mind?

Training programme, marking work, final projects, dinner with company tomorrow, interview with programme maker, Unis changing servers, fresh News stories from Uni page, final project dissertations for masters students. . . oh it was my birthday. . Cake and that was it. . . Fixed a few things on . . now heading outside, So what's on your mind?

Thursday, April 13, 2006

The power of dreams

I believe a division of labour has its place, but don't understand why we cant be a jack of many other trades and try and master them as well.

I believe that information and its governance should not be marked out by a set or class of people.

I beleive we all have the capacity to be good at something.

I believe in the bell curve and that there are few who are naturally gifted, the majority find that gift through the hard graft.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Nato vlog day 2

Why would anyone want to do this! In part it's the thrill, the rush, but it's also the mental process of understanding conflict reportage is nothing glamorous

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Yannis Photographer

Redux: Tribute to PhotoJournalist Yannis Kontos who attends ceremony for his award next month. A simplified production of Yanni's Amputee, Sierra Leone, with a score produced within 24 hours from award winning Gospel composer, Michael Donkor.

Amazing stuff. Let us know what you think?

Tornados don;t you hate em

This one weights a couple of hundred tons and has the capacity to pack a real punch. What d you think

trust no one

Trust everyone and no one - So who can you trust? Clip from interview with Director of UK's oldest think tank, Chatham House explaining intial media coverage over the 7/7 London bombings.

listen to what the director has to say on what do you thinK?

Friday, March 31, 2006

Mobile News

The ubiquitous mobile phone has an even richer future. True or false?

Two years ago as part of a project with the BBC's Interactive department, we, myself and handpicked students mapped out a world where the future would collide with the present.

Here the mobile phone is transformed, not merely from the shoot and edit capabilities some devices can handle now, but a fully fledged HD quality camera with sophisticated editing bay and fast network publishing. More coming

Monday, March 27, 2006

Mike Smartt ex- BBC Online Chief

An example of a video hyperlink, which I'm working on to refine so the transition is seamless, but what do you make of what Mike says. Pretty Candid really! No you won't get that from an existing BBC Manager.

Amputee Sierra Leone

Yannis was having a pizza with friends when he called me. Come on up, it'll gives us the chance to talk about Sierra Leone.
Early jan, Yannis sent me prints. I looked at them and thought Gosh these are harsh. . . even painful. Weeks later the pictures would be garnering multiple awards.

I call Yannis invisible. He's 6 foot plus, but has the ability to get into a moment in time that defies common thought. He wanted Terry Callier's Sierra Leone, but alas despite emails and a good hearty chat with Terry's record company, nothing came of that wish.

The track you hear was specifically written for this. A heart warm thanks to Micheal Donkor, Joel Dumba and Eric Osei-Poku.

So there we are. Tell us what you think? If it moves you enough perhaps you could find time to give to an Amputee cause.

So, I say to Yannis, I can't make it in today but how about a rain cheque. . . tomorrow?

"Oh tomorrow" he quips I'm off to Columbia. Such is the life of a photojournalist.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

What if

What would you like to change?

Simple question, without a simple answer.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Band of Sisters - the new multiskilled media prosumers

One of the most visible evolutions of our contemporary media age has been its democratisation and meritocracy. So it was a joy yesterday to spend two hours with a class comprising all women in mid-career or contemplating pursuing video as a new hobby or career-turn.

The course in North London, at a place called, Heron House, [] trains women in technical skillls for example graphics, editing, camera, lighting.

There is a world of difference when speaking to mid-career women, some of whom may have families. They want a practical, realistic view of the industry and if they don't mind me saying will let you know very quickly if you're off message.

Some of the questions revolved around the differences between Final Cut Pro and Premiere. How After Effects could add value to your production. How Flash as an application is so underused by broadcasters. How to go about setting up an online station. And for me a firm favourite how a number of tertiary institutions are failing to train modern day producers to take on the market.

As a former BBC employee and freelance producer, I'm not talking about producers in the BBC sense, formidable as they are, but the more radical multi-skilled creative and journalist. In an interview with the world editor's forum [] I mention how divisions of work, labour and diehard habits mean we usuallly execute tried but tested methods, but which often make us impotent too to new ideas and practices.

In part this is because of unions and regulatory laws, and the other frankly, why should I multiskill, when what I want to be is the best camerawoman or most adept editor. Learning any new skill merely dilutes my specialism, or does it?

Realistically, our broadcast/ AV industry has a good enough turn over, but not enough, to meet the ever growing demand of graduates et al who want into the media. But herein lies a rubicon , which has been crossed knowingly or not by everyone.

If you can't get into any number of organsiations. Don't despair. Today, broadband allows you to broadcast your own material. The market then becomes your judge and jury and that's healthy. That's what the English 17th century philosophers, Thomas Hobbs, refered to as the Intelligent Commonwealth.

I don't doubt that the zest and curiosity in the room, coupled with combined knowledge could be a real tour de force in setting something up as a collective. Interdependence [ Covey's 7 ways of success] is a strong theme here for building upon ideas which appear someone distant.

The Open Source movement and its ethos may be counter intuitive to business but it has served many netizens and media envagelists well. Copy left rather than Copy right will equip you with tools that can be shared and assit you in growing in unison with your shared partners.

"So how do you get your stories?" was one of the questions, as I opened up With great patience and feeling emotive about the subject. I have a day job, but will work around the clock or do the "Death March" ( c.f coders working arond the clock). Yes, I said, more or less everything you see on the mag is mine in production, but that takes away from the point, that quid pro quo arrangements are constantly going on, so that everyone's a winner.

The real point here: you, and your stories is the killer content.

Broadcasters and Publishers exist because of you. As I write this, I have just finsished marking some Masters in Journalism student work. One student has interviewed an Indian gentlemen who's taking it upon himself to ride his bicycle across the world. He has the most extraordinary tales. His day job, after his sabbatical, is working as a government civil servant.

If he ever puts up an online site detailing his Phileas Foggesque travels I'll be one of many I trust who'd log on.

online video packages made for broadband c.f Jakob Nielson for what that entails

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The secret services and the net

Could the Net eventually do away with the secret services, particularly if a group of intelligence officers are successful in pushing open source secrets onto the net?

multimedia photomontage. Why do it?

World Press Photo winner Yannis Kontos New
Yannis' photomontage proved to be a huge success, but for some it was a travesty. Should photos have any place in video production? Zooms, pans and the use of music may heighten the emotional effect. On the other hand they could be viewed as a simple distraction. Yannis and I are hoping to produce more. Should we?. If you're interested in more multimedia narratives see web promos back at

interactive documentaries

Interactive Documentary- a runner up in Network Channel 4 Unleash the Talent signaling how to rework documentaries to make them interactive. Is this the future for documentary makers restructuring their wares online. An early proponent of videohyperlinks, where videos will connect with each other in the same way hypertext does. What do you think?The Net 2010: And what about the Outernet . Where does that feature in the future of media: a utility that will lay open universal access to create public broadbandcasts on the fly?

From Print to TV

Videojournalism in Sony and UK broadcast industry magazine
The Producer magazine features an article, drawing great attention in the UK, about videojournalism and how British newspapers are learning to become TV/video makers. You can downlaod the pdf of the article.
The editors forum recently interviewed me about the Press Association Programme I headed up training newspapaer journalists to become videojournalists. This is indeed a hot and controversial topic. Should print journos have to learn anything about multimedia or tv?

The Them and US

The Them and US Pt 1. New
Podcasts and blogs may sound de rigeur, but to culturalists there nothing more than the repackaging of old ware.

Who is them and who is us? Is traditional media really in danger of atrophy? Will there be a fundamental departure from one media to another? Who will win and who will lose?

South Africa season

The South Africa season: David looks at stories and updates from the world in one country, culminating with the hit reality show The Apprentice, South Africa. . .

Rewind South Africa's then Successor Generation, made originally for BBC Radio 4 and Channel 4 News. An upate soon on what's happened to them all since. +

Political Assassin  New Trailer
One national UK Newspaper said it was: "One of the most explosive articles you will ever read".

Sunday, February 19, 2006

web promos and how they work

How do you sell your programme/media online to the cut and paste generation? Here, a ditty about my past and links reviving work on web promos e.g. Lennox Lewis and interactive documentaries.
. . .and then click throughs to Lennox Lewis' promos etc. I'd like to hear your thoughts on this

Friday, February 17, 2006

24 Frames Comments

Yannis sent me a couple of photos after I'd invited a couple of photographers to work with our Masters students. Breaking down walls is what you could call it, photojournalists getting the chance to work with screen and print journalists. Afer seeing Yannis photos, I couldn't put them down.
In South Africa circa, 93 I lived in a flat in Yeoville. My landlady if I can use that term was Lindsey who edited a glossy, I think called Living. She would regale me with stories about some of photographers she had commissioned. One of them was Kevin Carter, a member of the Bang Bang Club.
My healthy regard for photographers who tread were angels dare was born. Like Kevin, Yannis pics are hallucinatory, disturbing, mesmerizing, grim, yet gripping. Last week, he picked up first place at the World Press Photo, Contemporary section. It's well deserved. I'm hoping to get him on here for a skype blog. Let me know if you're interested