Thursday, May 31, 2007

the future is tv

Oh really!

I put myself through a day's action scripting ( Flash) to tidy one or two things on my site, and as always happens my mind drifted. I recalled a couple of meetings I attended in the past, the Apple Exec on Regent street where they revealed an assortment of broadcast solutions.

There, one TV exec gave the best exchange yet that TV's USP would forever be that; that it is capable of carrying huge events and bringing people together around the box. The Net and TV's viewing habits get flagged up here.

I'll write about this in more detail on viewmag. Once again this blog allows for an incoherent brain dump. Broadband's quality, speeds and algorithimic compressions may reach TV's, but the goggle box has the upper hand. Though I wouldn't give up the interactivity and the intimacy of my mac experience - me tapping away and watching snipets of "The Unit";not replicable to the same enjoyment on TV sets.

Yet TV is still a fighting force - a ready made medium with still enough eye balls wedded to it. Problem is there's been a lot of abuse of the audience. Partly, perhaps arrogance and ignorance. Nothing beats a skilled TV maker in the same way you'll probably pay for the experience of seeing a David Mamet or Buckenheimer project unsighted.

But a happy medium often TV does not make. Everyone's an expert and whether you like it or not or that you need to show how adept you are a De Bono's 6 hats smiling deferentially at the consumer.

Sidetracking somewhat, the recent visible spat between BSB Sky and Virgin, should be a public warning to Virgin about consumer choice. All the head of marketing needed to do was send a communique to its consumers explaining the issue and any redress they might make for leaving us in he lurch. I changed from Virgin to Sky the week they lost 24, and so did thousand others.

Grand scale projects may be TV's its, but it is also yet to become comfortable with the idea that diminshng made-for-tv content will likely fall further as broadband increasingly mimics TV's characteristics. TV's best years are done. Get over it.

There is a parrallel universe in the making. It's one in which a new breed of broad/band caster will deliver to TV and the Net.
I have always thought mischievously what would happen if say, a large body of broadcasters left say the BBC and set up a rival network.. then again there's Al Jazeera, which if you haven't seen, do.

But the dynamics of the new visual screen world order will require a new business minded exec capable of understanding how to offer "personalised" rewards to viewers. In many cases there will be meeting of minds between the traditional and new: Sky/ Myspace, Last FM/ CBS , but that relationship will not always be sustainable in numbers. That much I remember having an hours debate with Stuart Murphy when he was controller of BBC 3. He got it.

The future really is TV, except one we haven't yet fathomed.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Local TV news: That sky already fell

All round Flash journalism guru and educator Mindy Mcadams' flags up this post from Steve Safran:Build a nice video site and take back online video.

Mindy adds..... "I would join Steve in urging those local TV operations to wake up, and fast -- but I would also urge my colleagues in the formerly print news business to think hard about what might happen if the local TV competition DOES step up. The golden age of online video experiments and innovation might be short, like the so-called golden age of radio".

That pushed my button with this return, below, but first a few things.

Congratulations to Hillman Curtis. Can a man who has achieved so much be sooo nice. He's won a webby for his films. Hillman wrote one of the seminal books in Flash that changed everything. In fact Hillman's book: Flash Web Design got me really into Flash.

I posted this short news report about his work.

Am I being naive, but are the Brits more hung up on titles than say the US, Germany or China? In the Uk you need to be something. Status and a business card is everything, which often means I reluctantly exchange greetings with people at conferences with..

"Hello I'm David" ( Pause)
"Hello I'm Rupery Myers, Head of Digital Comitext stystems 2000"
" Wow er, that sounds impressive"
"Oh I handle our companies digital strategy
David thiking: [everyone does digital strategy.. what the *** does that mean"
Hey I caught your bubble thoughts,, you know what I do.. I plan the future... so what do you do?"
"er things.....
Conversation ends.

You see I'm about to post a "how to" on about a project for a major client who wanted an ad on CNN in less than 24 hours. The pitch went down to two people. Me and a Washington based company.
The story has some interesting twists, but I'm not sure you'd call me a video journalist on this... See you on view for the full story. However if you want to play along. Here's how the client pitched.

"Ok so you'll do it... good good.. our contact says you can"
Me swallowing my tongue: "er yeas... so what's the brief?"
"We don't have a brief except that we have bought the air time on CNN"
" No brief??£@????"
" We trust you, whow us wht yo come up with before you start putting together"..

So to that response to Mindy's post

Good read Mindy

My own view here in the UK is that infrastructural models and TV's job hierarchy which served it so well in its golden era, of course, needs an overhaul.

A new team competely (oh dear!) unless old dogs want to be taught new tricks?

TV execs will adamantly claim [and rightly so otherwise they shouldn't be there] they know good TV and how viewing audiences behave.

If they didn't
* Firstly, they would not say.
* Secondly, this new media stuff, that's not TV. "Damn it I have spent 30 years in this industry, no one's going to tell me how to do my job!".

But yes there has been change, perhaps marginal compared to the industry at large. But frankly there's a welcoming Darwinian nature about of all this: if you do nothing, it's likely you'll atrophy into oblivion. And, you and I have choices unlike a decade ago.

In the UK a good number of regional newspapers are turning to video journalism and there have been some notable successes within this paradigm e.g. The Hull Daily Mail and The liverpool Echo newspaper which sells footage back to local broadcasters. LOL

But there's also been a rush to video aping TV's model when CMSs could in themselves push/mix the paradigm. It's led some newspapers to ask what is the point of video online, when I also want users to read our work. My own tiny, miniscule idea was to wrap/integrate text around video masquerading as that headline picture.

On the catch up, yes that's interesting. I have recently completed some video journalism work with the Financial Times. At the point, which is where they're heading, they do the stuff TV is doing anyone in the newsroom

Good read Mindy

My own view here in the UK is that infrastructural models and TV's job hierarchy which served it so well in its golden era, of course, needs an overhaul.

A new team competely (oh dear!) unless old dogs want to be taught new tricks?

TV execs will adamantly claim [and rightly so otherwise they shouldn't be there] they know good TV and how viewing audiences behave.

If they didn't
* Firstly, they would not say.
* Secondly, this new media stuff, that's not TV. "Damn it I have spent 30 years in this industry, no one's going to tell me how to do my job!".

But yes there has been change, perhaps marginal compared to the industry at large. But frankly there's a welcoming Darwinian nature about of all this: if you do nothing, it's likely you'll atrophy into oblivion. And, you and I have choices unlike a decade ago.

In the UK a good number of regional newspapers are turning to video journalism and there have been some notable successes within this paradigm e.g. The Hull Daily Mail and The liverpool Echo newspaper which sells footage back to local broadcasters. LOL

But there's also been a rush to video aping TV's model when CMSs could in themselves push/mix the paradigm.

It's led some newspapers, particularly those not running the double play ( write the article/do the video which adds to the article) to ask what is the point of video online, when I also want users to read our work.

My own tiny, miniscule idea was to wrap/integrate text around video masquerading as that headline picture.

On the step, yes that's interesting. National broadcaster ITV has its local network up an running. The BBC has 800 plus video journalist who will serve local areas via its at-some-point-to launch broadband hub.

I have recently completed some video journalism work with the Financial Times. Like most newspapers who often generate primary news as well analyse and generate commentary, selling the article and accompanying video must be scary if you're a news broadcaster.

Sorry Mindy a couple of urls articles I have written in the same area

"Broadband's capacity offers scintillating innovation, it would be a shame to waste it"

Monday, May 28, 2007

Sport now, and an ode to Msr Hamilton

Moody Damon Hill shot by Charlie Amponsah.

Geez what the ****

I remember the days, Damon's tango with shunter Schuey in Adelaide - that was exciting.
But what about when Nigel Mansel blew his tyres, manages to steer it to safety, then strolled out of his car as if he's just taken the dog for a walk - that was @£*&^*bril.
Then Mikka - that blubber moment on losing his car and a career to the race tracks - we missed you. That was interesting.
The great Ayrton Senna no more - Imola.
Schewy's first F1 ride - whoah.
And then the Tiger of the race track pounces. *&^%$ Damn Damn Damn, exhilirating... leaving all in your wake.
Seven years ago a good friend and confident of Hamilton's dad, Kevin Haggerthy asked me if I wanted to do a doc on this amazing talent being groomed by big Ron.
Of course I declined, who would have taken it. I didn't make the same mistake a few years later when Lennox Lewis asked if I would accompany him to his fight with Tyson. Of course no one still wanted the doc.
New talent requires a new broom. Hurry up internet. I want 100mb as standard, then I don't care if I have a commission or not.

Oh the joy of code

" So why do you do all this?"

A national newspaper editor asked me why I was carrying all this different baggage. You know, the ability to report on radio or TV, produce or direct in either medium, shoot- effectively video journalism... Ok it doesn't stop there but you get the point.

Because, well I guess I'm still a student in a manner of the word and truthfully I can. I recall many years back almost failing my Applied Chemistry degree because a friend studying economics had asked me to help him revise and I got sucked into the vortex of Bretton Woods and money flows. It did me some good as I remember circa 1991 at Newsnight being put in charge of the markets.

Maths, Economics and to that code have always been fascinating, ( yugo p's stuff is just sublime ) though I did give up lingo on director and have not given action scripting the respect it's due.

But lately CSS has become bed time reading. How very sad, sad indeed. To me this all makes sense.. a line from the Matrix where Keanu's character asks Cypher (Joe Pantoliano) what he sees on the screen. "Oh I just look at it code.. there's a blonde.. there's a redhead"... Ok I'm paraphrasing, but the point... all this digital stuff, FCP, Photoshop, Pods.. there all ones and zeros.

If you get photoshop then as one good friend, Rob Chiu - the ronin would put it After Effects is photoshop on steroids. There for the taking.. no not the drugs!

So where am I heading with all this..? Oh the beauty of code and elegance in design when you lift the bonnet of a site and you see how beautiful it's put together. I'm currently in the process of redesigning viewmag - where will I find the time?

But also that if this stuff scares you, yes it scares me in a healthy way, then it must not be lost on you that we are in the midst of another paradigm evolution - forced on by the onslaught of the new digiratis.

Arguably main stream remains relevant and perhaps will do so for many years to come. In part its is their collective ability to improvise, embrace the new and play catch up that are determining factors, but they're having to share the table now with, well people who just shouldn't be there. Make no mistake that hurts. That a different breed of media makers - the pirates of the play ground - are gnawing away at what was once sacrosanct when less than a a decade ago you could count the number of double firsts only allowed into the alter of television.

The BBC made bi-media a term of universal acceptance de rigeur, whether employees thought it successful or not, during the mid 90s. If you could do radio and TV, a halo beamed from your arse. Was it and is it so difficult? Then tri media - do TV, radio and the the Internet. Now that's a prized commodity of an employee if you found one.

Now that universities are opening up to this new new thing a generation ahead will with a disdainful disregard pulp this digi-media. " I think once the universities take hold and collapse the artificial boundaries in the media, I guess video journalism will take off big time". Words of Scott Rensberger, whom if you have never heard of before please google. I have the most remarkable interview with Scott about what he does as a one man band.

Coming soon the UK's print media accrediting governing body for universities, the NCTJ, will require all journalists on a print patherway ( a redundant term) learn video.

In years to come we'll wonder what the fuss was about. Not that we couldn't be a jack of all trades and master of all. That rule was long broken when mothers tackled the house and worked. But that the mental divisions of labour held out so long; a faustian pack between accountants wanting to spend big budgets and managers accepting those budgetary plans to sustain next year's figures, plus the indexing to inflation.

Oh but for the joy of economic code there goes.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

I want to a journalist - How can I change the world

Over the weekend, a good friend invited me around for tea. Actually her best friend's son wanted advice. He wants to go into the media. At 15 it's a fair bet this fleetingly prepubescent ideal was a whim. For all 15 year old males have an insatiable desire to think about the ff as career choices
a) play football - chase girls
b) go into music - chase girls
c) Chase girls - as a main profession.

But I'm bound by a warped notion to change the world. He wanted to be a journalist. Couple of things to sort out.... ten minutes later it was obvious, we had a lot of work to do in this quest.. Not surprising, but when you have trouble convincing a 15 year old that Bill Clinton did not play funk, or that George Bush is not a slang insult.. yep tme to re-engage.

It soon however became apparent that a new quest could be photography. We got past the glitch that Lachapelle was not a comedian, but then got our groove. Have a look at Rankin, Type in photography into google and just wander around. If you want something that might give you a few restless turns at night go to Yannis Kontos.

Do you have a camera?

A muted yes followed.

Well then take pictures and do the Flikr.- Glazed look

Oh never mind.. go to myspace

15 year olds, I know aren't homegenous. At one web 2.0 conference, get a load of Jane and John. A little passed 15 but savvy enough to have all the brand managers chew their fingers. Whispering: "Did that kid just say they don't download, but bluetooth the video to each other F***!"

John and jane could be journalists - not, you know tradtional ones. In a decade, like the climate the journo as we know will incontrovertibly be alien. John and Jane are the power rangers of the new world.. anything digital is a jelly doughnut about to be wolfed down. They facebook, twiki, text at speech speed and radiate sunflower confidence.

My humble 15 year old did none of the above; keen, but on the timid side.

Did you know according to BBC Radio 1 somewhere in the region of 10,000 students will graduate ( can't remember the exact figure) but only 2000 on average will grab those jobs going into the media on first base. Trouble is 80 percent odd students want to work in the media and journalism scores high.

Mike Eboda, an editor of the UK's Black newspaper New Nation tells me of an incident on an estate. Couple of hooded young black boys gathered around his jag x something futuristic.

What they really wanted to know is how he could own one of them and wot did he do, sort of thing?

I'm a newspaper editor and there on he attempted to explain to the young men what a newspaper editor did to abject amusement and bewilderment. Two stayed on out of a dozen.

YCTV a media school for urban youngsters gets 15 to whatever age to learn about the media, but centres like that are few and far between. The media, journalism is a very middle class affair.

Hurumphing.. going on now.. Yep you still might be the barrow boy from east london preserving the community about you, but those that open doors in the profession do so to others who tend to mirror their sensibilities.

So back to our 15 year old. There lies an uphill struggle, but he is young and impresionable and I have handed over my contacts for him to tack me down. His task. I'm not going to let him go without setting him a task is to blag his way into the marketing department on his work placement. Then we'll speak again.

With any luck, I might have spotted the next Rankin.. Isn't that cynically why we help these young uns

I want to be a journalist - how do we change the world - a series of blogs - Redux

"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

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The irrational media makers

I'd like to be involved in building a school for media makers; irrational ones who insanely believe they can make a difference.
To some extent they would be journalists, but I feel it's a redundant albeit necessary legacy term that we might be stuck with for a while. Journalists ~ writing for a journal.. seems rather dated!

Media makers are platform agnostic, they deliver to the journal, the TV, online, and all manner of sub constituents.

The advert would read: Only those with an irrational passion to make a change need apply. What is our function? Journalists write stories, you write the new rules. In the course of their growth, we would foolishly make them privy (electronically or otherwise) to that we feel uncomfortable, even shy away from; poverty, abuse in families, racism, death, murder - all the while pushing them, testing to see where there is a higher sense of ethics that we could develop.

If you've never seen death, strife, injustice at play, does that make you a lesser journalist? Do you need to experience pain to understand pain. "Act my dear boy, act" the late lawrence Olivier told his co-actor Dustin Hoffman in the Running Man.

But there's no doubt, Walter Cronkite and many other journalists before and since have had their senses smacked when in Cronkite's case he returned from Vietnam.

We would also want to re-evaluate our relationship with the story. As a journalists we tell hundreds of stories. Some stick, some don't some indeed are mediocre. It happens, in a narrow corridor, there's so much news about, or is there? I'll come back.

I asked Scott Rensberger - a 32 awards winning journalist, photographer, and possibly the first contemporary video journalist with a 20 year track record, what his favourite stories were. Not supprisingly, he had many, and they were strewn across a wide geographical plate. There's something in that.

Bono and Geldoff ludicriously believed they could make a difference with music being a vehicle for change and change agents. Financiers deluded themeselves many years back with The Marshall Plan and how we might rebuild a crippled dejected democracy and Europe. Al Gore, we thought must have been barking mad when earlier in his environmental career he preached the mantra of global doom.

Of course I'm not any of the above, just someone who believes a re keeling of the way irrational media making might work. It's unfathomable but every story they publish will have a banking purpose. The net does that now with linking. So if I said this in 1994 I'd be even more deluded.

But our feat is to redefine the database for news and its agenda of hit and misses. I onced asked a delegate at one of my talks how many times she checked her stocks and shares. At least once a day, she replied. It meant something to her, I concluded. It had value. But I added, today's news: Hurricane Katrina, The Tsunami, the Virginia shootings will soon fall of the agenda of our present custodians of news. It may be inportant but something of more significance has come along to shift its from its temporal location. Never mind that. Someone's now saying, there's no possible way you can keep showing the same news every day.

No I didn't say that, but how do we pick and choose our news is something to look at and should we be blaming the news hosts for their lack of our choice?

The news would not be a showcase of us; perhaps there's no helping that, but the purpose would be seek a new discourse in how we tell it.

Here videojournalism has been rather better placed, but it's not the panacea. Except the nature and characteristics of video journalists - at least those I have met - tend to mirror the attributes of photojournalists. Lensmen and women who tread that place angels would hesitate to go, and yes there are a kerzillion other journalists of indistinguishable merit who have enriched is before, But.. But on the bell curve of behaviours they're at the top end.

Video journalism I told a BBC reporter in Berlin, much to his delight - he told me later - is about getting down and dirty: Gonzoims updated. Finding a story that often makes little sense on paper. I'll be posting an interview with Rensberger and some of his films to illustrate, but Kevin Site's solo missions also make me wonder.

At the dawn of TV and radio, I'm returning to my narrow corridor theme; the world, as complex as it was then as a microcosm of now, must have been simpler to peer at and wonder. For one thing nations and issues were more more definned, less blurring around the edges. The world we live in today is complexity sans border.

So the issues to report were perhaps more obvious. The uniqueness of air travel also meant, any story back from the "Far East" or Africa resonated in its novelty.

The world shrouded by a chaos theory, which cycles through good and bad times makes it impossible to report on single issues, even to sustain such reports e.g. Darfur and the Genocide.

So what are we to do? Irrational media makers report and with their multimedia skills let you thread, thus soon every niche of a debated issue becomes a top page rank. Last time I checked on google as an experiment - a story I posted with 90,000,000 returns placed me at number 3. Intelligent software and human eyes, intelligence gathering gives the stories new impetus.

I asked my Mac, so how have things shaped up in New Orleans? It returned a slew of links, but in our new frontiere, our stories featured prominently. There's still more than enough anxiety to topple the cadres who stood by for the worse to happen. On another morning I asked for the top health stories around the world, then my favourite reporters. Each time the data base returned with annotations from us irrational media makers. "Huh" we said, now everyone's deep linking video to get more currency.

One of our features will be to move as "swarms" - think of it as special units. In London alone after one month, what you'll know about the city will be far and above what the daily diet of a thirty minute news programme tries to show. And whilst we won't neccessarily seek out "good stories",our aim would be examine those that ripple with their effect.

We'll need to deconstruct story telling. Pre 20th century cinema , the narrative for film wasn't fully conceived. I've no idea what it is, but where we are now, cannot be the be all and end all.

As irrational media makers, we work across news, video, photos, pods, design, promos and articles. To us they are all ones and zero, with however deeper instrinsic social purpose.

The new paradigm will ease us away from the nomenclature which defines us at the moment.

Yes, Cyber MI6 ( integrated multimedia Video journalists working the Outernet ) repurposing old ways. No.. shifting things altogether, yes, yes, yes.

.....then I woke up. 6.30 the alarm went off to the BBC's Today Programme.
Wow some *****ing dream that was.
But I managed to jot something down. It said little drops of water make the mighty ocean - an irrational thought if there ever was one.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Power to the People

The incredible battle of trafagar square - simply brilliant.
Before television was atomised to show endless runs of soap, and liquorice drama it was Pilger, Cook and World In Action et al. TV's social function, not withstanding the rose tinted outlook we attach to the yesteryears, meant something.

Injustices were served up without the chiming thunderous scores - alright just a little bit. There were few in comparison to today's consultants and pinstriped analysts telling us what we should be shown.

TV was about finding good stories and if they were about the under dogs, the neglected, the dissed, then all the more better.

Thatcher's Britain was an invitingly outrageous time to be in TV. If anything the tories gave TV land a reason to be earnest and all important. Then labour came to power and what happened next? Well if you ask anyone in TV land, we're doing as good a job then as we are now.

Tim Samuel's programme is big themed and generous, poignant and piercing. That was television, non-derivative and bold. I want my television just like that to expose the duplicitous nature of politics, life, of MPs who want to hide behind a bill that prevents the electorate - the very people who put them in power - from knowing how they serve the people. And to give some dignity to those people they were all cocker hoop to send to war, but readily abandon on their return suffering all manner of ilnesses.

More, please

Monday, May 07, 2007

newspaper reporters are now video editors

Very interesting post in which indie VJ Cliff Etzel - an email buddy - exchanges views with others at the water cooler.

The big one! Newspaper reporters are now video editors, what's your take? I have been fortunate to work with quite a few newspapers in the UK, more recently with the Financial Times amd while video is the new kid on the block, my contention is the written word remains strong, and possibly will get stronger.

Couple of things to consider for such a statement. The triple play eventually may well be the choice between the article, video or audio podcast.

When I developed viewmagazine, I had an idea that was so 'nuts' that to tell any newspaper company to adopt, well...I'd imagine the rhetoric: "Stand aside - what do you know?" And that's being nice.

Viewmagazine relies principally on the writer and strong photojournalism - the very tenants of basic journalism. But what would happen I asked if you clicked the picture? What if I could hide video behind it? In some cases what if the picture slowly animated? That's the now.

Then what if an incon next to the article, when triggered, delivered the article in the spoken word? What if also we could link audio and video seemlessly as yo do with text? That's the next phase.

The implications whether to do with accessibility or creatvity - the triple play should increase the dispersal / readership of articles.

In the last two weeks I have since learned that two national newspapers in the UK will break through in the aforementioned style. And yes as I imagined if you want to see just video you can by jumping to the paper's library or in viewmag's case Apple's podcast.

But something else kicks in which is the stuff of newspapers - 21st C. equitone. It's from the era of Addison and Steele C17th; literary figures who drove the evolving newspaper industry. Equitone became the emerging prose in which newspaper writing would adopt, developed further with journalese, headlines writting etc.

300 years odd and you could argue that while video is a threat of sorts, the written word itself online is fighting itself.

By that, what often works offline may not punch above its weight online, because of online's rules of engagement: meta tags, and linking phrases. We're now writing not only for an online audience but a cacophony of spiders trawling the web googling your prose, deconstructing your article and testing the limits of its web-friendliness, with the reward that the more webnastic it is the more people get to see it, cuz it rises up the google ranking.

I bought a video recently, something about great cinematographers. It proved something I'd thought but not been able to get to the bottom of. That all the things we're doing now with video is history on a loop. Before Man with a Movie Camera, Birth of a Nation, the early pioneers of film did it all themselves. They presumably had nothing to be concerned about as they was no strict division of labour that has come to structure our industry today.

The industry is going through its own perestroika and glasnost and the big question is whether newspapers adapt. Do newspaper reporters become video editors...........?

In this link newspaper journos in their own words talk about video journalism and what it means to them.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

the new new journalists

I have been invited to speak in Bilbao - The Association of Eurpoean regional TV - about the future TV makers.

In short its this 3 years down the line

15-19" Mac super - laptop treble the speed at present inbuilt net-sat reciever
Final Cut VII -integrated editing tool with after effects + motion 100 and HD Deep video for the Outernet
Adobe Solutions X+ CSS Xml coded package with deep video 2.0 to hyperlink video
Sony HD A111 - HD camera with shifting lens and variable speed mimicing 8fps - 75fps with blue and wifi server technology

Off course this is all gobbledygook.. but the point is the next generation journalists will work off laptops and cameras that fit in a rucksack

Saturday, May 05, 2007

I am a journalist with a camera: a film maker

A feature caught my eye in one of the UK trade magazines: "We will invest in quality journalism", intoned the article, attributed to a senior news exec.

How many times have you seen that? It's a bit of an oxymoron really, suggesting those on board aren't quality, but more to the point is an easy rhetorical point to convince evetyone, that, yes, frankly we will invest in quality journalism.


More law training?
More public body reportage?
More international stories - quite?
More what really!

Well more innovation frankly and that means understanding the new rules of the trade, and those riding this new wave: Naka Nathaniel; Travis Fox, Mike Kraus; Sabine Streich: Ruud Elmendorp; Claudio Von Planta. . . the list continues

An old friend friend rang me yesterday. He needed a voice over for a documentary. So I headed down to his house to masquerade as five different characters - some of which have done the most heinous things in war.

Claudio Von Planta is not a name you should forget in a hurry. You've seen his work, but he is an unknown. A craftsman, whose trade goes back many years. His most recent productions have found their way onto Al Jazeera and Witness presented by Rageh Omar; Sky and Mercanaries in Afghanistan, and an hour speacial on blood diamonds with the award winning Sorious Samura for CNN.

Claudio's most high profile production though is Long Way Round, a feature starring Ewan Mcgregor and Charley Boorman on motorbikes travelling the world.

Now the point I'm trying to make. The camera Claudio is holding aloft, that's what he uses and a laptop to make these superb programmes. In a video feature I'm about to post we talk about the creativity these cameras offer, the new programme makers, the insecurity of broadcasters and the phrase: We will invest in quality journalism - frankly whoever says that without considering video journalism doesn't know what they're talking about.

Detailed article on soon

Friday, May 04, 2007

8 Days - How newspapers learned videojournalism in 8 days

How newspapers took 8 Days to learn video journalism

Overall this film is 15 minutes long. This segment is around 10 mins. Please go to Youtube to watch the second part

Also Inside the Financial Times and their extraordinary grasp of Videojournalism. Plus the newspaper videojournalists who only make films for their newspaper.

Fancy that! You train as a newspaper journalists. Apply for a job at a newspaper and are told, you're only going to be making news features. Double page feature within the UK industry trade magazine UK Press

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

omg You may know him from Oz. His repertoire boasts the best of, and his just the salt of the earth guy who you'd sit down to a beer to.

So.. I'm walking and see this figure fleetingly. Now, I'm not a star struck kinda person. I remember last year odd standing next to Jay-Z and thinking er! I guess if you work in television you can become blasse. But ocassionaly I will go wide eyed like a saucer and I couldn't resists stopping Eamon Walker who's playing Othello at the Globe, London.

We spoke for about 10 minutes and he was so incredibly nice and humble. Frankly on the odd ocassion someone's come up to me... yes I have been humbled..but I'm not sure what to say.

Anyhow I'm going to go and see Othello. Do come along if you're in London and lets hope I can catch Mr Walker at The Globe for an interview. Judging from what we spoke about, it should be a cracking one.