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

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