Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Web 3.0 -and beyond

"Facebook, YouTube and the other social networks and blogs ... are but a pixel in a much larger picture", says the Times Online in an article looking at web 3.0.

Quoted at length from a presentation is Nova Spivack, founder of Radar Networks, a leading Web 3.0 company, who revives an idea which Tim Berners Lee proferred - The Semantic Web.

* The Internet will have a brain
* Changes in Net technolgy will accelerate oscilating between back end and front end.

Trend extrapolation based on present scenario modelling lends huge weight to these and the work of several science fiction writers.

Viewmagazine. TV contributor Doug Hughes raised some interesting variables in this feature for Viewmag saying:

"In a Web 3.0 Minority Report world however, artificially intelligent machines will mine user generated databases parsing trillions of bits of information linking them semantically and returning information in a way more closely resembling the human mind".

In film and TV we glimpsed a future at the UK's Film Council Digital Summit- which they asked me to convene . I'm yet to see it in practice, but delivering films with multiple strand plots that intelligently or by choice flip from one direction to another sounds an engaging prospect.

Question: Will it be called the web anymore, if this thing becomes a sentient of some nature?

Short promo piece here. Spot the typo

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

New Journalism - New Technologists?

Robb Montgomery from Visual Editors drew my attention to the following feature.

I'd raised the prospect - old concept - that the link: umbilical chord far from feeding journalism is wrapping its way around it.

Most of all the major innovations inhabiting web 2.0 spaces, made available for the media to use, come from technologists.

Facebook, Last FM, Chicago, Youtube etc the list runs on.

It will always still be about he writing and the films being made, but if nobody can see those, what's the point.

So the New York Times' sojourn into open source is an interesting excursion, just as the BBC is with its own player.

If anything the linux community have proved the worth of open souce programming.

But will the New York Times' position lead to clamour amongst major newspapers looking to literally write their own future?

Monday, October 29, 2007

Publishing many ways - the multimedia way

I still have the CDs from the Sunday Times - a glowing era of multimedia when CD Roms were all the rage.

The definition has moved on since, but Multimedia asks a lot more than linear pathway programming and there are some fantastic pieces coming out from the US. See Multimedia Shooter.

I spoke last week at a gathering about integrated multimedia publishing 5 ; it's since moved on, now many ways.

Here's a short from Gallipoli- a diving expedition in the waters of WWI battles. Are the divers disturbing war graves or is this history they can't let go without seeing it up close and personal?

The audio played on the BBC World Service and here's the photomontage.

Over the week I'll introduce the other elements and see how we might build the story's entry various entry points

motion news grapic titles

Some films outdo themselves in their opening title sequence, mixing rich graphics and film.

The Kingdom is the latest.

Saul Bass was instrumental in innovatory title sequence aesthetics and there have been many examples since then for the small screen. See Resfest and Onedotzero and films such as Catch me if you can.

Take your news and After Effects skills one stage further. Great Stuff

Guardian Films in Baghdad

Quite extraordinary film on The Guardian Newspaper site from Baghdad by its award-winning photographer and filmmaker Sean Smith.

Sean spent two months with the US troops who speak freely and with resignation about the futility of what they're doing.

Before you click the link though, caution, there are some very harrowing scenes in this, which The Guardian would be advised to warn viewers as well.

Here's the link Inside the Surge, part one

You won't see this on television. Ofcom wouldn't allow, but this is extols the strength of pushing responsible journalism within the online platform for newspapers.

The Guardian could also offer this as a HD for Apple TV and the rest.

It is a mind gnawing film.

I came across it looking for examples of multimedia journalism.

By dint of mixing film and photos you could argue it is, but it's presented in linear form, when it has several entry points that could benefit from emerging multimedia presentation.

That way also you could present various interfaces, ensuring viewers ie students or otherwise find their appropriate experience.

As a VJ, I have never filmed in Baghdad and anyone that has ( see multimedia shooter for examples) is deserving of deference.

Couple of things as a VJ I might have changed, but Sean does a great job in what is one of the most extreme of conditions

promo ad vj

It takes time to load, but adding a new face to Viewmag going back to its original presence of embedding video behind front interface.

It'll probably take some caching or waiting around to see the effects of pushing videojournalism using after effects and key framing in final cut pro

It's part of a theme for an authored film on multimedia I'm making for trade mag The Press Gazette, so I'm looking around for new material.

Thanks to all for previous email feedbacks.

The rollover sound is part of a longer interview with visual editor Rob Montgomery in Cairo.

Open congrats to Claudio who contributed to Long Way Down on BBC TV, where Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman make their way on bike from the UK to Cape Town. You can hear Claudio talk about one person shoots on view here

Also congrats to Nancy whose music features prominently on Viewmag whose Myspace features a recent interview with the BBC's main London station.

We'er filming Nancy's gig late tuesday.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Videojournalism or web journalism

A story that you may have experienced.

A head of department said he'd tried to pin me down, when asking what I liked doing, working online or video journalism?

Both, was my reply, I see no difference with the two.

Today, he got it.

Multimedia journalism is a composite of online and video journalism, I added, though in its best guise the seams are invisible.

You'd find it a tad more confusing if I said I like making promos as well.

Couple of years ago, I got asked a similar question with regard to radio and making TV programmes.

One informs the other, the other nurses the former, was my reply in a round about way.

Good TV draws on an understanding of sound production and good radio is like seeing pictures.

Which is why some of the best radio reporters of all time e.g. Alistair Cook, Mike Wallace, and Richard Dimbleby possessed a poeticism, brevity and craft of language which would see them equally take charge of and colonise this new medium (back then) called Television.

Frankly I have never quite understood the brouhaha over bi-media.

Now into this swirling media cauldron comes graphics in illustrator and photoshop, mash-up programmes or APis, editing on Final Cut, posting on After Effects, animating on Flash and the rest.

For many it's all a bit daunting really. There were good times, easier to understand times when we knew how to trade information.

Now many of us watch glazed over by the blinding array of things we're asked to do.

To a new generation born into it, it's water off a ducks back. Truth it's all one and zeros.

Learn it, don't learn it. It's about choice.

I remember the telling-offs from my father when I attempted to have the TV and wireless on at the same time, whilst browsing a comic.

"One thing at a time", he'd throw his voice across the room,"and turn those off".

Today the phone's ringing, I'm blogging skyping at the same time, TV's on. . .

This from the late Douglas Adams for The Sunday Times on August
29th 1999 called How to Stop Worrying and Learn to Love the Internet. It's a weight piece. Here's a snippet.

Everything that's already in the world when you¹re born is just normal;

Anything that gets invented between then and before you turn thirty is
incredibly exciting and creative and with any luck you can make a career out
of it.

Thanks to Christine Fox - a fellow video journalism trainer for sending this through.

HD Podcast TV

Couple of months ago Apple notfied all its podcast Itunes users requesting we export to Itunes at HDV at 640X360, as opposed to a standard many use which is around 480X270.

It's the future was the underlying postscript, because Apple's TV attached your flats screen gives you the experience of watching TV without the paraphanelia of broadcast TV.

So this morning via RSS I popped up the Washington Posts HD feeds and I cliked their latest offerings: a piece on "A Four-Star Tasting" from its food critic Tom Sietsema.

The file was around 116mb and took about 11mins to download on a 1mb broadband pipe. The video itself was 3 mins.

The Washington Post, like the New York Times has been one of the pioneers in Videojournalism and it doesn't take rocket science for anyone to glimpse the future.

It's a future where Washington Post or in the UK Telegraph TV resides as one of the main channnels on your global TV network ie the Net.

Faster connections 10mb, plus "bit torrent" type software which also facilitates faster connectivity, and more intelligent aggregating sofware will allows all to assemble their own news.

It's where you decide so intuitively what you want watch on the day .

Imagine you've chosen Dafur. You're still a stickler for 30 mins broadcast. That's how long it takes you to unwind on the dinning table. Old habits die hard.

Your RSS tells you all the Dafur posts:

BBC, Washington Post, Africa TV, Parliament TV, The People's Podcast TV. . .

"Do you want a presenter or not?"

Yes, I'll have Trveor Macdonald.

"Sorrry Trevor has limited presentation", says the software

"Ok I'll have Mary Rayner".

Mary Rayner is one of the new breed of cyber presenters, who's has been recording links for the best part of the day which gets called up by you for any number of the videos you've chosen.

If you think that's pie in the sky, it's what held Channel One together 13 years ago, a juke box held all the reporters' videos and the presenter spent the day reading links that could be pulled together by the news desk producer.

In this broadcast made in 1995 I'm presenting an item on what the newspapers say the web wil be like in years to come. It's not live. At no time did I see the report before I made my links.

So the future is a huge agency model of quality video from newspapers and magazine's being made available to anyone, almost similar to what APTV or Reuters do already.

You might even choose your TX by reporters you love to watch.

So what will we watch?

I can't help thinking we shouldn't throw away tried and tested news techniques, but the immediacy of videojournalism and its narrative, as opposed to the TV videojournalism narrative now being touted, has to be a strong draw.

British TV bound by the rules of Ofcom seeks to be impartial and objective: "He said, but she said".

There will be many cases where bound by strong ethical reporting, publications will seek to inform their audiences through opinion reportage.

Can anyone tell why they're still fighting in Dafur? What both factions want? Why the international community still waits?

Overall video will have to become more aggresive in its filming techiques and there are signs some of the broadcasters are already experimenting.

Channel 4 News recently on a piece by Lucy Manning on education, and Alan Johnston recouting his captured days in Gaza are just two examples.

No doubt as video journalism and its method of delivery expands new techniques will emerge.

It will take a brave MD or News Editor that ignores it

Thursday, October 25, 2007

It's all about public knowledge

Had a good session with the next generation of journalists currently on their Masters program, who are keen to get into some Css and multimedia Flash Design. Brill!

World Editor's Forum Jean Yves tells me they're planning a write up on videojournalism after recently paying a visit.

I look forward to it.

I have no idea what he's going to say.

Meawhile a good friend rings up and asks if I might be interested in directing an ad. Er, ???

This thing we do, it's about knowledge; public knowledge.

There was a time not to long ago when irrespective of the years spent in a newsroom; mine started in 1987, editors believed, probably rightly then that they held all the cards.

My, the world has changed and some of the most interesting ideas are coming from those who are asking basic questions.

Why do we do that?

Why is the report 1.10"

Why do you have to close your report ?


This thing we do is about public knowledge.

Today's news featured items on MPs expenses and one senior UK figure investigating irregularities in company audits retiring from public office.

Sir John Bourn was comptroller and auditor general at the National Audit Office

His expenses over three years amounted to £336,000 on 45 trips.

£15,000 odd for a holiday with his wife. There was no suggestion of impropriety and he was cleared on any wrong doing last June.

Perhaps it just didn't look good.

There is, I guess, more that should be done in the web news media world around these issues.

Meanwhile, Press Gazette has entertained an idea which looks at Multimedia in the UK, which I'll probably do a VJ report around, so if you're doing anything interesting in this area please drop me a line.

email me here

Like I said this thing we do is public knowlege

How to become an all round web journalist

It doesn't say so on the cover and it may not be available on the shelf if you're in the US, but one of the best magazines for journalists is Web Designer.

The mag mixes features from next generation web e.g. to tutorials on dreamweacer css and how to set up word press blog.

Admittedly it will be the odd journalist working news to subscribe to something like this so tech orientated, but if you want to know what's brewing before it shows up, magazines like this one can be enormously helpful.

One of the first I susbcribed to was Computer Arts back in the 90s picking up issue 3. Computer Arts is now a huge brand, but has lost some of its appeal for me in mixing plain speaking informative articles with broadly speaking easy-to-understand-w work.

That said Computer Arts were the first to showcase my videojournalism reel, in 2002, so clearly understood liked tha aestheticism with VJ.

At 5.99 Web Designer is a tad pricey.

That's the Economist, Time Magazine, The World Today and some.

But it does from time to time fully justify its cost with an array of content.

There isn't as far as I know a magazine which treads through both camps journalism and the web exulting the new, old and exciting.

Perhaps with the new found maturity there should.

That said with the pace of change, there's more than enough online journo/ educators underscoring this new frontier; see online for its all time favourite websites.

The ones I have previosuly come across in Computer Arts, which I truly loved.

Yugo P one of the acclaimed masters of flash

Playstation's doc noire

Just plain violence, but some interactivity

Film Saab site, which I plan something similar soon

Integrated multimedia videjournalism IMVJ

One of my first pieces for Channel One circa 1994 was a report about an ambulance and hospital service; how they'd managed to streamline their response time.

I remember at the time completing the last leg of the mini feature and being offered the chief executive as an interviewee.

Chief Executives rarely put themselves up for the camera so it was an opportunity to conduct a longish interview with him with my camera on sticks.

I didn't know at the time ( serendipity ) but when I got back I cut two pieces - the report and then the Q and A.

Channel One TV
Channel One TV was a cable company modelled on New York One and just so happens to be the first all-VJ station in the UK - a pretty big deal for students wanting to know about the background of videojournalism in the UK.

Incidentally Wikis entry on videojournalism ignores this and the author must have some alliance issue because when I entered this it was deleted the following day.

Bad wiki. Bad Journalism. tututut!

Also Wiki it's instructive to note that the pioneers of videojournalism in the UK were the newspapers, Associated Newspapers, who publish the Daily Mail and Evening Standard.

That's also a big deal in the UK market, where most people I talk to imagine it was television, the BBC that started the revolution.

In fact I still have some cuttings about the whole of the industry snarling back then.

As Adrian Monck would say, you get no points in this game for coming first

But, bad Wiki!

Video hyperlinking

On the day at Channel One we ran the report, then the Q&A which earned me a hero-gram, Nick Pollard's memo of the day saying that's exactly the approach we should be adopting.

Many years later and Channel One- a distant memory - though if you watch British news its stars are all over the screen, the twin approach has greater currency in video hyperlinking.

In this VJ film Trust in the Media - which I made while a panelist in San Antonio a couple of years back, I have embedded interviews with Dan Gilmore and others that you can call up while the feature is in full flow.

This approach I have come to think off as integrated videojournalism, which could/would sit well within a multimedia package which in itself allows for multiple narratives.

The value of multimedia packages is in delvering news in a manner which is richer by the sum of all parts (video/pics/text/motion graphics), or explains/informs of an event/affair which gives us the independence to drill.

So video journaism and its twin, Flash, are more than well suited for this.

A hanging question though?

How many journalism institutions teach Flash or what it potentially can do.

It's no longer a graphical interface tool, is it?

I'm speaking to some friends on the trade mags and hopefully should be able to produce a video feature illustrating this

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Andy's video online survey

Way you go Andy - good stuff. Video online survey

Missed the online News Association meeting at the Guardian newspaper looking at mobile phones. Wonder if Jemima Kiss can help?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Videojournalist way

Some UK train services offer free wifi while others, whwther you're travelling first class or not make no effort &*^$£@??

Travelling on the train, a couple of overcooked thoughts.

Firstly those British Rail ( an anachronism) trains not providing Wifi, wake up.

The service provider contracted to the chain of Premier Inns wanting to charge £5 an hour up recently from £2.50 for 2 hours, WAKE UP.

Is there no end to corporate greed?

The changing face of VJ
This week I had the pleasure of exchanging ideas with a really nice bunch of journalists and photojournalists looking at the VJ way of doing things.

Richard shoots a lot of wildlife and has the most amazing footage ( if I can convince him to grab a few frames) of filming a stags on one of the UK's richest wildlife plains,Exmoor.

Seems he was so well camouflaged that they went about their business without sensing his presence.

Wildlife, in particularly the BBC's Cat Diary series is a big user of DVcams, but Richard could quite easily become a name to watch in making videojournalism wildlife his own.

Richard turns the tables on Jean-Yvess from the World Editors Forum who was keen to see how Vj worked

Two others, Martin and Martin from regional newspapers are photographers, Sarah's a web editor and Nick's a sport reporter.

The nature of Videojournalism and those it initially attracted is changing swiftly.

And equally indespensable is the contribution to the ever increasingly important multimedia presentations by, primarily newspapers.

Video journalism has become a bed fellow with multimedia - a word so vague when it attempted to make its presence felt in the late 90s if you weren't producing CDRoms you didn't have any idea.

Now that's all changed and the application, Flash, I stumbled upon at version 1 something is a must-have in any newsroom, broadcasting or newspaper worth its salt.

This is one of the first major pieces we made back in 2000/1 - an interactive documentary, the Family which would become runners up in Channel 4's Mixed Media Unleash the Talent comp and lead to work as Lennox' Lewis video journalism and multimedia movie maker.

Yes there's fabulous work in the UK, particularly from the graphic design fraternity. . .

If you haven't booked for Flash in the Beach (FOB) in Brighton, what are you waiting for.

But take a million TV conference back to back touting future TV and you're still come away with a fraction of new knowledge attending a BD4D ( By Designers for Designers) gig or FOB.

Watch out for what I predict will be equally big within the new journalism way of doing things: motion graphics.

Gosh I sound like a broken record, but here's a well worn article for, which was relevant then, and more so now with Hillman Curtis, Newstoday and BD4D showing exemplary work.

It's only a matter of time before the kind of work you see here on Multimedia shooter listing work from say the New York Times and this Film makers in Residence becomes the norm here. Isn't it?

Rendition - shoting styles and braodcasting

Directed by Gavin Hood, Rendition, a taut thriller ( nice site and use of masks as well) stars Reese Witherspoon, Meryl Streep and Jake Gyllenhaal around the much-publicised practice of carting off foreign nationals for interrogation on foreign soil.

As highlighted on BBC Radio 4's Saturday review, there was a healthy tension between the director and DOP about camera movement. Should it hover, stay where it is, or adopt this evolving "dirty shooting" art form - so prevalent in Bourne.

Yesteday Channel 4 News, where I freelanced for four years towards the 2000, indicated its intentions with this new style by featuring a story about education, with all the hallmarks of the camera being the subject.

Channel 4 News has always been about innovation and risk, so I hope they continue.

Where the VJ element of this adds further to the story is extreme personalisation.

Storytelling has invariably sought to tell the story through someone, to give it empathy and meaning.

Vjism - the size of the cameras, the nature of the vj, and stories element, gives an edge to really get a personalised view of the story at hand.

We're seeing two broad forms emerging then.

VJ made for TV - using the same TV language but with one person - sounds like a cost element could drive this.

Or Vj as is own fluid language, were personliasation opens the story further, with potential fast follow ups and the ability to keep the story going.

Going back to Radio 4. Guys I love the programme. But it would be a good idea if

a) you didn't give the plot away
b) or say something like. . . ( Right I won't say that either otherwise it might ruin your viewing experience.

Just stop it Saurday Review

Monday, October 22, 2007

How long news cast?

Aristotle was convinced the earth was stationary and that it was flat, then Galileo came up with his own theory that proved otherwise.

This week we discover that the government's targets for alcohol consumption were plucked from the air?

And why do we always, news people here, assume 1.20 is the optimal time for a newscast?

Some things, all things, are meant to be questioned.

Online, time is indeed compressed which should give us food for thought about positing new time spans, rather than aping what TV has given us.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Viewmagazine looks back at South Africa

A couple of features that may inform you of South Africa. There have been great changes. This site and film gives you some background from my days reporting from the region.

A sporting question of Identity

I passed the test.

It is known as the cricket test, the Norman Tebbit test.

Where are your loyalties?

In a moment of schism, who do you support, the country that you live in or that where your folks are from?

It has pride of place in cricketing folklore.


Oh that strange game where grown up men try to thwack a wooden ball across a field.

Rugby, if you're not a fan is no less strange, but I digress.

Wherever I lay my hat
My hat is in South Africa, but my heart is here.

I bought my South Africa World Cup shirt in 95 at, was it then still Jan Smuts or, Joburg International airport?

I was on a visit, but the memories of almost 24 months living and working in South Africa were fresh.

The shirt was my treat, a legacy to the country that in all intent I would have stayed had I worked out citizenship.

The 95 World Cup was such a unifier, the symbolism truly awesome.

Yep South Africa is where I would now make my home, intoxicated by such love to emerge from South Africa's victory.

I hear similar things, the country turning green before their showdown with England.

Sporting triumphs have the knock on effect of lifting nations.

And this win should be a much needed shot in the arm for South Africa still with its share of problems.

In 1997 back in SA on hols in a bar in Sandton I watched as England trounced South Africa and from the look on my face you can clearly see what it means.

Yesterday I could barely watch the screen. In fact I chose not to watch it at all. Coward!

Not all stories have a happy ending
The poeticism of England winning was to great not to be trumpeted, but South Africa winning was not so painful.

The trophy has moved to my adopted home - a charismatic rainbow nation, whom in years ahead will also stage the beautiful game.

But Eeeeenglaaaand, Eeenglannnddd, is the sound bouncing around my head.

Titans - the end of games

They were titans.

They faced their demons - a previous mauling which psychologically will have wrestled with their minds

But they did not buckle.

They took the game on.

They're undoing, chinks in their armour.

Mistakes which cost them dearly

Sad sights of warriors limping of the battle field.

The fearsome Habana was no where in sight.

But in true sporting fashion we duffed our caps

We recognised we were beaten by a worthy foe

It hurt nonetheless.

A fairytale on the verge of becoming a fable for generations to enjoy

Son, once upon a time the English showed such fortitude against all odds, they emerged victors, when no one gave them a
cat's chance.

But they clawed. The three lions roared.

But as the evening wore on, a springbok proved stronger at the game.

The lion's rested.

But still these beefed up gazelle-like creatures came.

So the curtain falls for another four years.

England are no longer holders of the Rugby World Cup.

But they stand tall within the fraternity of the beautiful brutal game.

They are the Titans

And that my friends is the end of games

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Photography & Videojournalism Tip 163

Something that I have wanted to mention for a while. The pros here will already know this so er, sorry!

But here goes: If you're taking snaps of someone/something at an event, don't be afraid to hold the clicker down and fire off at least 5 shots.

I'm always intrigued by people who take that one shot. Perhaps they've a lot of belief in their skills.

For us mortals, frame the shot and snap. Snap again, and again and again.

It's digital and won't cost you anything more than a couple more seconds viewing.

And if this hasn't happended to you already you'll be amazed at how a miniscule shift in your subject will nail the shot you were after. Look out in particular for "action" shots - an event in midflight with all the accompanying gestures.

This applies to video journalism but with bizarrely shooting less, so survey the scene, catch the movement in the frame. Movement helps drive the narrative and then shoot away.

Don't be afraid to reshoot a scene again, if its' not right.

Often I do this so fast that the subject's unaware that I made a mistake and am reshooting. Yep that's when the slightly modified question to your last answer reares itself again.

p.s finally fixed that CSS glitch on Viewmagazine

Friday, October 19, 2007

Get creativity with creative precision

SMARTLabers at work

Forget everything you know.

Editor of 20 years standing, director with 15 years in the field, artist and commissioner with awards? Forget it.

It's time to get wired up, give youself a work out, bench press 2151b with your mind: Origami lessons, late night Chinese language classes, or how about those glider pilot wings?

In my case can I do the PhD programme, peleease?

I had heard of them, read about them, and now I had the chance to feel one - the SMARTlab.

Ever joined the Territorial Army or observed the draftings on TV and the Warrant Officer's (WO) notion of character-building.

"What do you mean, you'd like to stop so you can breath some air", clips the WO.

SMARTLab is the antithesis of this, but you'll inclined to question your self worth all the same.

Who am I?
I started off composite, intact, but soon perceived I knew nothing.

A black cloud hung. Was I some imposter about to be found out?

And then slowly, surely by a methodical process I experienced a rewiring.

I'm reliably informed it doesn't stop.

You find new thought pathways, and then more.

And so it goes until at some point, in the future, you emerge from the end wringed, squeezed, exhausted, pressed, more certain of what you thought you knew but weren't sure of at the time.

Well that's the theory and that's some time away, millions of axons firing-off away.

But for now some clarity emerges about old thoughts.

I am
Director Professor Lizbeth Goodman asked the question, a game, which effectively probed for a deeper understanding amongst the cohort's research: "Whatdyameanbythat?"

"You're researching quantum physics applied to dance forms. Whatdyameanbythat?"

That wasn't the actual question but you get my drift.

Lizbeth: "David, so what are you doing?"
David, head down in Mac: mumble, mumble, mumble
Lizbeth: "Whatdyameanbythat?"

At that moment, for once, a sheath of clear thought.

Lizbeth would express her surprise. For the first time, she'd got me.

Truth, for the first time, I'd got me. She wasn't as half surprised as I was.

Clear Water
Being forced to self evaluate, ask yourself again and again what your ideas stand for is a template worth considering.

Imagine you've been taken out of your comfort zone, but you're amongst friends with no fear of ridicule.

It allows for a certain openness.

It's akin to two dancers tangoing at close quarters, whom moments earlier had never met before.

Go on try it at the next club.

Chances are you're cantering forward with a space the size of the grand canyon below both your waistelines.

You're still closed off.

Cross Pollination
This week I have been privy to Location-based learning, the process of creativity, motion capture in art, the alternative Net (rant), Immersive game culture and experts from Nesta, to name but a few.

If you could replicate the programme across work, bars, gatherings, outside Liverpool street station, sparks would fly.

If you could amass a group of editors and have a coterie of mash-up youngsters take over the board room, sparks.

If you could grab some broadcasters and show how laptop programming could revolutionise creativity in production; if you could mix the commissioners with the technologists, somehow I feel you'd be inviting new paradigms.

For somewhere in there you're embracing that new mantra: If you want to know about water, don't ask a fish.

And that author you respected towards deity status may just seem more human; still respected, but human.

"Kill you darlings" was one solid piece of advice.

Smart Lab
Dr Leslie Hill, a senior faculty member, proposed a thought-provoking line of questioning - reverse feedback.

"So what one thing would you take from a talk around the conscious and sub conscious, which you could incorporate into you work?"

Imagine that?

When was the last time you saw a presentation on fantasy play, feminism or the sub conscious and thought that'll do me nicely.

But, pause for a minute.

We do it all the time, often sublimely, erratically, with no coherence to our actions. On the odd occasion, it's even naked.

That visit to the design studios, Society of Editors conference, consultant who charged the equivalent of his mortgage - all events which would stimuate ideas.

The big difference perhaps is these were obvious transferable ideas.

They were safe, within your scope and because of that you felt comfortable.

Most times also there's no pedagogical form to capture the work flow of the idea.

The answers that drive new paradigms invariably do not exist in the spaces we already occupy, and even if they do they require a generosity, a velvet hand to cajole you, bad cop you, make you think.

Et voila SMARTLab.

It's scary and makes you forget everything.

Everything that is which just might lead you to doubt yourself in the first place.

NB For good reasons, Chatham House Rules apply with respect to authors' work.

Location based games

Promo for location based Nato Game, where the forces are assessed as much as the journalists in the field retrieving stories.
This is very different from that Celine was talking presenting to us ( see pervious posts), but it did make me think if you could incorporate various elements of the two

Is the end of video on the net nigh?

What might happen if, among others, net neutrality stumbles? How might Indie producers distribute their films against soaring net costs?

A video interview with Jason Roks coming up soon on and here.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

$100 computer to developed world


Your presentation done at Knock Knock last year inspired me. So a few weeks ago when I was in Nigeria studying the 100 dollar laptop I did my first home video :)
Lets connect again.

regards Anders

Location based games

It's always exciting to broach new areas of the digital plains, so I listened with due attentiveness to Celine Llewellyn-Jones, an academic and practitioner in e-learning, education and location based games.

Celine, also a blogger and second lifer, spoke about her passion and a couple of the projects she's involved in.

She referred us to a game she'd set up called Dockers Dilemma in London Docklands in which museum-goers get to explore the surrounding areas of the docks, e.g. Blood Alley - where in the days of old dockers would have to carry sacks of sugar, shredding their backs with trails of blood on the floor. bbrrrerrr

According to visual stats she showed education-based location games are not only huge, but educational programmes are as much a hit as commercial ones.

With all the hutzpah over child obesity or indeed anti socialness of fixed room games e.g. X-box, this doesn't take rocket science to see how location games offer a great alternative.

Several years ago not too far from our present location Matel toys gathered a couple of journos into a huge warehouse and unveiled their cyclop visor and zapping space guns.

You've never seen so many grown ups go whooopee acting out their childhood fantasies.

More recently Nato's war games which blurs the boundaries of sims and location based games has been a surefire winner for trainee journalists learning conflict corresponding.

Celine cnnecting her GPS
The catch however, not everyone can play and then again it requires resources.

For the games here all we needed was a GPS handset and space, which was all the excuse needed for a group of us to have a try out.

Decommissioning the commissioners

BBC TV has started trailing the long way down - the exploits of actors Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman travelling down the longitudes.

Behind the scenes is one of the most adroit doc making cameramen/directors Caludio Von Planta, a good friend.

On his return we picked up the thread of a topic that could fill as many wikis that exist online.

With 20 odd years behind him, you'd think he'd be able to pick up the phone as a trusted director and say "hey what about this as an idea".

Not a chance.

Back in Commissioning land, it is the Commissioner that decides what stilll works.

Bring me a one legged gay moslem married across faith who is willing to go on record saying something we might consider a hint outrageous.

And so it goes.

fashionable TV
The new black in TV is often something that crept up in the night, revealed itself and then caught the imagination of the C people.

And next season we want to challenge notions of self and worth.

Well, reported in the press yesterday that Dr Watson's alleges black people are less intelligent than white is a green light in waiting. Don't say I didn't warn you.

foot note: Was this taking out of context, or was the quote clipped in such a way to support a wider atgument than a specific point. See here

The commissioning process is a feudal system. Knights of the Round Table where few are beckoned in and given a chalice to drink.

And so it should be, you might say. You're not a commissioner by any chance are you?

The New BBC
But in 2015 in the new slim line BBC, a BBC heading more towards a variant publishing house model, where a televisual era would have been ceded by a new net generation, will this antiquated system of approval still exist?

Arguably you want experts or do you to guide, but as final arbiters?

Net Visionary Dan Gilmore's story that he one day realised his audience knew more than him so he ceased to become the expert but more a facilitator is instructive.

So the BBC looks to shed a number of jobs. Black clouds indeed gather over the institution, but frankly the chop?

Where's the chop likely to go?

We'll find out in hours.

There are rafts of TV makers, the new multiple platform TV makers making their way through Unis just this moment.

They social network, takes soundings, understand it's a view of many.

If it isn't broke why fix it.

But it may well be that the undelying structure needs reform to meet the demands of an evolving society.

Is this not perhaps one reason The DG of the BBC, has by default, made cuts.

In an era where there's so much we need to know, and could know and have access to know, a few people determining what we see, sounds, feel, well, is interesting!

Look foward to the super commissioner, the reformed commissioner, the unlikely commissioner, but whatever you do in this new paradigm, look to find a way of including many.

Becauase in the database future, we the people willd decide with more ease that we do now at how programmes fit into our lives and in the short years ahead, they'll be more choice, better choice to make informed opinion.

Another reality show from the Network?

I would hope not

Claudio's off on his next project.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

BBC job cuts

LOL True Paxman.

"Goodnight, we're off to dance around our handbags to "I will survive""
Presenter Jeremy Paxman's sign off from BBC Newsnight on the day the BBC announced huge cuts and the programme put together a strong programme examining the issue.

Bob Stein at SMARTLab - For me ignorance is not bliss

SMARTLab Wednesday * LIVE BLOG * 5ish

Listening to Bob Stein, the director of the Future of the Book - who is demoing sophie -an application that he says makes it easier for people to say/publish books without having having to learn complicated programmes - assembling media rich doc.

There is a simplicity that he highlights about the programme thus making it easy for anyone to publish, wthout say knowledge of Flash.

Bob has an extensive rich past in innovation.

He founded a company called Voyager Company, which Wiki says was the first commercial CD Rom publisher.

He's worked with ther noticeabe figures e.g. Alan Kay at the atari resarch group.

He started off showing us images of how they imagined accessing info from a database back in 1981, effectively the wireless network we see today.

He said they hadn't imagined that you'd put things in ie. the database future web was more about content taking out and not the conversation of people, or people being the content.

He showed a page from *Sleepwalker, and how he was influenced by Carla Hesse, that showed huge margins where the author had put into comments. Also referred to a book called The book that nobody read

Made me think once again how the future really was invented in the past.

He showed a couple of books of people they're working with or have been associated with

Bob said the future of books worked with one author to research and create his book in public using blogs etc rather than the traditional route e.g. bury your head in the library.

The outcome he says was universal comments back that: It's no longer the author speaking its the book speaking.

Rather reminds me of a something I read of Chris Anderson, The Long Tail, who says his book was developed through reader comments.

What Bob says they're trying to do is expand the boundaries of the book.

Paraphrasing he says books hide the social realations that underpin the book. ie social network is hidden and that means something which adds to the books essence.

MELD round up

Round up of MELD Sheffiled, Paul Egglestone behind the camera.
For moer information on MELD - a new concept bringing different disciplines together to create rich stories go here

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Spooks goes Bourne

I have watched a fair fewSpooks - BBC's critically acclaimed fictional drama on MI5 operatives, but I had to smile catching a glimpse this time.

I think son of Bourne would be a more apt definition.

Gone is the long dolly straight line shots of old so characteristic of UK dramas e.g. Holby City, the BIll, (nothing wrong with that)in is the two step lighthouse shot, so prevalent in Bourne.

Tight angles, occasional lens push, hand held, the score is ethnic.

But they haven't dumped he log shots entirely which slows down the narrative.

Imitation is the best form of flattery, but it would also be nice to see Spooks go out on a limb.

It's a solid drama, invent a new visual language

BBC job cuts

Huge cuts set to take place at the BBC.

On the 10 O'clock news its media correpondent Nick Higham set out where the cuts would be.

500 jobs in BBC News - that's a lot of jobs.

But also new ones created in New Media.

It sounded like a strange comment.

job cuts, but also creating new jobs.

It's cold comfort for anyone losing their jobs, but it appears the Director General has put part of his future strategy in this evolving media.

This and a raft of proposals go to the Trustees on Wednesday.

These measures will have wide ranging inpact on the industry at large

1. Media figures wil, depending if the cuts go ahead in light of union reaction, want to know whether the BBC can operate on its new slim line figure.

2. The usual musical chairs and shuffle that creates inevitable jobs at all sectors including new blood may well be affected.

3. It may also signal what sort of employee the BBC is looking for in the future, which in turn may give some ideas to other media execs.

I'm melded

That's it! But now Paul and Andy start the gradt at Meld, but by all accounts there is a excitement in the air.

If you're in the US, perhaps MELD as an organisation will have greater currency, for there's a good number of people helping put journalism onto a fresh footing, often with funding to boot.

The Knight Foundation is just one of many. MELD in the end is a brokerer, the yellow brick road between your house and that Wizard of Oz, the programmer/broadcaster.

And along the way lies the journey, the process of creativity which journalism is being asked to deliver.

Alison Waugh, creative consultant and I had a "wow" conversation yesterday, following the post of her interview. She's one of my PhD colleagues, So I hope you to introduce her to you more formally.

Wanna know about water? Don't ask a fish.

It is outside the four walls of journalism that solutions may lie about how we mash and turn it inside out.

Alison is one of those non-fish species. She lives outside the bubble, so has solutions that most will find deeply engaging.

As a journalist who's worked in front and behind the camera, made Ads for ad agencies, graphic and websites, it is fundamental point.

Anytime I get the chance to work with someone inspiring like Rob Chiu whom I'll post to the front of Viewmagazine, I come away enthused at a new idea.

It's this cross pollination, the share economy, the era of interdependency that finds new roads less travelled where we might work new solutions.

Alsion is doing that, MELD is doing that.

Question is do you want to engage?

It's your choice and it really is that simple.

Video coming up soonish

Monday, October 15, 2007

How to get ideas

Just how do you transform yourself into an ideas factory.
more on

Sunday, October 14, 2007

A few good books for media folk

If you're particularly new to video, web design or media, here are a few good books that surfaced today whilst rearranging my book shelf.

A must, this quick easy access BBC handbook covers all the guidelines to uphold BBC values, from consent with interviews, risk assessment to secret filming.

You may not be a broadcaster but the guidelines give you the very best of ethics and morals in working your media.

Beg, borrow, steal :) one from a BBC friend.

Websites are produced at such a pace and it would be difficult to name a core number without an encyclopedia.

But this book recounts the early days and some of the zens, inspiring you to create with freedom.

One page would go on to influence an editing style, which I first noticed from The ronin, and I use in my work.

If you want to know more about the early days, this is a good book to have.

Talking of editing, how about this fantastic book, which runs you through the aesthetic and style of editors ranging from pop videos to Rodriguez's editor at work.

Published some 4 years ago, friends have tried to borrow this indefinately for a long time. Well illustrated, not a technical mag, but substance behind the craft.

Woops, how did they let me input my bits into the book.

Seriously, the difference between editing and cutting as an art form et al are waiting for you.

Dvisionaries' Transitions - Voices on the craft of digital editing is curated by Tina Hirsch whom at the time of publication was the A.C.E President of American Cinema Editors.
"No matter what your area of interest or experience, there's something to be learned from each of them", she says

BBC's Sir Michael Lyons Interview on Andrew Marr

Fascinating interview with the BBC's Chairman of the Board of Trustees - the round table guardians of the BBC - in expectation of a crunch meeting this wednesday, when this global institution will learn its fate.

In the new economy, it will be smaller; a default from securing less money from the government.

Anyone, anyone, worth their salt in programming, broadcasting and net thingamajigees will be studying this outcome.

For its true that when the BBC sneezes collectively many institutions reach for a handkerchief.

It was a robust performance from the Chairman; what would you expect, but I disagree on one crucial point.

Sir Michael would rather BBC journalists, the top flight ones, not discuss the BBC's affairs in public. Servicemen and civil servants, even the private sector would possibly understand this.

To paraphrase Sir Michael, he wants that debate to happen internally and that it has an impact on the public's confidence when they hear what really should be an kept in house.

He's right!

Tust and some
But throughout the interview he emphasised the trust factor required of the public.

Those two issues rub. If you can't be honest and open with your spouse, how can I trust you darling.

The BBC has a marriage of millions, not just with its employees, but those who pay for it.

So I may choose not to engage as a shareholder, but I should, I believe, have the option of hearing what's being said; participating in the debate.

The perception I supppose is that there has not been enough. This is Labour's territory.

Go through the land with a rolling travelling show asking people what they think.

A good honest open frank discussion. Not a Mactaggert, though incisive as that is.

Not a yearly one-off public 'fess, but a chance to have your say.

Then, then, if you want to get on with your public policy. . .

You could argue programmes like Newsnight continually push that kind of debate. You might ask whether that's beeen enough?

Trouble is, and you only have to look at some of the BBC blogs to get an idea of some people whose idea of a contribution is to lob a cynical grenade into the fray.

Lots of collateral damage. Is it worth it?

Are the two ideals mutually exclusive?

"Jim we're going to have to let them say something".
"Yes but how efficient will it all be in the end"

The heart of the matter
At heart you sense a couple of things.

Of course any manager would prefer to manage its public face and also respect the mechanism of employer-employee trust.

That's why you won't hear google men and women speak anything but good tidings about their company.

For employees who often feel they're not being listened to, dropping tiddle bits of info to the press is a resort, before if anything you go nuclear and put your face to critical messages.

In physics as in good PR, any seasoned media practitioner will say: If persuasion fails, force is then applied. It's a negotiating position looking for your break point.

Moving on, the cuts will hurt, anyway you look at it, but it's also worth considering this: the BBC is a huge and brill institution. Channel 4 is a huge and brill institution. Channel 4 operates at least within its newsroom on a fraction of the news budget BBC uses.

That doesn't make it right to chop at the BBC, but it illustrates there is a working practice to be met, which will not tear the heart out of this august institution.

Often friends and colleagues muse over what could be done with a BBC blanket. I'm not suggesting IM6 Videojournalism is the norm for everyone, but it is cost efficient and works.

The debate about the BBC's future should be "extremely transparent". For, if anything, it the BBC benefits from hearing from people like you and the solutions you might have to offer.

Once, managing PR was acceptable, but the world has changed. A new open source dominates, where people want and demand to be part of a conversation. That does not amount to anarachy.

Take on board the lesson of how Linux - open souce software - became so mighty.

Trust, that very word is what governs an instiution I have been a member for 14 years, Chatham House, which created the Chatham House Rule.

So, it's possible to engage with people with reciprocal trust, with the effect that they will stay stuum. There's still a wad of things I won't talk about because of this.

If people do feel secure in their jobs, they'll tow the line - even within the army ranks. but it's an old tactic which we will never be rid of.

When you feel threatened, when change beckons, when an unknown future sits at odds with traditional ways, anything you say regarding the direction of a company that doens't look to feed it, will make people nervous.

Consider those who have been part of the structure for a good while; it is a second home, and its about to be, well, made smaller. Big Brother -who stays and who goes, except you don't decide

If it's not broke why fix it.

On the other hand if its's not broken, how do you know the underlying structure doesn't warrant a look and a bit of modernising.

Link here for David's work at the BBC in the early 90s and here for one of his news features for Channel 4 News.

The Culture Show peachy

Did I hear someone say the BBC's considering ditching The Culture Show?

It's 1.40 a.m and I'm sitting here watching this week's show and it's brilliant.

Tarantino and the music that influences his movies.

Book Awards (Man Booker( - good film making where Mohsin Hamid's The Reluctant Fundamentalist is the people's favourite.

And Once a boy meets girl Irish musical flick, written and directed by John Carney. Nice site as well.

Made for 80,000 bucks it's taken 8 million at the US box office.

Incidentally if you're a book buff I've an interview with hari kunzru who talks wonderfully of how to strike it big as a writer.

Wow and now the Culture Show's got an interview with Neil Young

Saturday, October 13, 2007

C'mon England

England into ectasy France into oblivion. England once again are in the Rugby World Cup Final

Subtle changes to with some background pieces finally coming together.

* Have been going through tapes to finally put together the making of. . . from Cairo

* And then forget everything you've ever read about The Telegraph (UK) and its multimedia studio and news convergence. presents an EXCLUSIVE video feature behind the scenes with senior editors, the Telegraph's first VJ and the 8 students chosen from 800 to be the UK's first newspaper multimedia journalists.

Facing the press - up close and personal

England meet France for semi-final place in the World Cup
Often working this side, you forget what it's like when you approach people for stories or even doorstep.

I recall working at Channel One and my editor Peter instructing me to doorstep a government minister who it was alleged was having an affair.

I got into a conversation with a Pap - weathered beaten skin, he asked me: "Are you a monkey, a snapper or distorter?" ie a lensman or a journalist.

Charming eh, how each regards their own

I never did like door stepping.

Lately, I'm feeling similar - nerv emotions - for my uncle and aunt.

In the last fortnight since their son Paul Sackey cut shreds on the rugby playing fields of the World Cup, they have had almost all the press in some form on ther door step.

The first to turn up at the door was the industrious News of the World, followed by . . . and then the Evening Standard.

Media management may sound like a sexy topic in theory, but in practice it's the management also of people, their expectations and that of the client.

With England on the top of their game, it's likely there's going to be more than enough press attention to go round, but the captain and star players share a special place on the press podium.

Every one's going to be nice to you. That's their job. But also beware of sliding door effect.

If you read former Capatain Will Carling's account in one of the papers last week you'll know what I mean.

I'm noticing some interesting things so far.

Blog call around

Collection of deeply engaging stories from Multimedia shooter site

Watch FilmMakersInResidence - Health issues - Reminds me of one of Michael Rosenblum's first early series about hospital traumas. This is multiple access film making at its best

At war which sees a a former National Guard soldier now film maker, Scott Kesterson behind the lines for a year in Afghanistan Pulitzer David Leeson is producer/Editor. Raw real stuff reminiscent of US drama "Overthere"

At teaching online journalism Mindy Mcadams opens up a disco on storytelling Connection: The core of storytelling, and deconstructs producing digi-stories on Multimedia package: Fat kids.
Mindy's site is a favourite pull up in our Masters online journalism class. Ta.

At Boston's SND Visual Editors Robb Montgomery hands over his mic to a student Nina Mehta whose pod discusses the transition and issues from print to mm stories.

At Peter Ralph's shooting by numbers- value added video Lily Allen stubs something on a photographer's camera. What's more intriguing Lily's actions or the small digi-cam mounted on the photographers stills cam?

Plus techniques on improving your shooting skills

More round ups coming up

Friday, October 12, 2007

Mobile phone production

Cross post from responding to a piece on Andy's site about a late night conversation how indespensible mobile phone story telling could or might be one day.

The driver was one Fee Plumley ( in the middle of above pic) who's been in this space for quite a while

So here goes. . . The thread for the piece can be picked up here over at Andy and the pics from the night including the one here are from his photo stream.

It certainly was some conversation. What time did we leave the drinks bar? 1.30 am?

For me the conversation resonated something like this.

Fi does a range of projects with the phone. Right!

But could it become a must have for journos in say the same way the A1 is fast becoming?

Its obvious benefit is that it's on your person. An increasing benefit is that you can post straight to your blog.

And what else?

I don't doubt it has huge value, but perhaps like video journalism with its rocky start, we just haven't seen the trees from the wood yet.

My thoughts, trend extrapolating ( oh dear I'm off again) is that it should/might/may be beg a new visual language.

I remember talking to Clyde Bentley, Associate Professor of Journalism at Missouri School of Journalism who told me some years back now that Mobile programme use in S. Korea is huge.

In visual narrative, I guess it's more of the FBCU's than the CU, given the screen size.

And while it may be great for Citizen jo and "open wide" shooting, what about the construct?

One major I said to Fee would be when the handset either by max-fi/wifi or some device lets you broadcast straight into a TV show/site or say with you stream live with multiple cams.

Voila a minature sat kit on the cheap.

Or what about having the lens on a rotating gimble or attached to key hole camera so you can do clandestine stuff?

My A1 despite its size would have been too intrusive.

Just two ideas. I'm sure they're more.

Fees in Leeds on Monday. She might be able to enlighten us further.

Creative Journalism & the confessions ( David's) of a would-be creative journalist

NB Otherwise for a 600X300 viewing experience: file size 17mb go to here.

After speaking to Paul Egglesone and Andy Dickinson behind MELD, David reflects on his own background in this hitherto undefined space of journalism creativity.

I confess I didn't comprehensibly realise what Meld was from the press release, until their launch and later interviewing the architects Paul and Andy the morning after; Mike Ward on the day itself.

It wasn't the press release. It's my head that needs sorting.

I need a clear out; one of those Johnny Mnemonic downloads.

The evening, from looking at the attendants and how upbeat Team Meld were, came of very well.

With the exception of me running through a makeshift keynote (Apple) trying to marry too many themes in a 20 minute window, but I have a new plan for their next outing.

Creative Ditherer - The 90s
Back in the days, I recall the many meetings I had job and project hunting.

One minute I was at Newsnight or Channel 4 News, the next I was out of work with no prospect in sight for finding work.

A meeting with a senior BBC Journalism executive Vin Ray in the late 90s will always live with me.

"Mmm good CV, seems like you've done a lot, but what do you do? What would you want to do?"

And then followed my explanation, stretched, bended delicately propositioned, as not to seem a ditherer.

I filmed, reported, wrote for magazines, was freelancing for radio.

To many, and I am not attributing this to Vin, I was either a media whore, confused, befuddled at my calling, or I was this bit- too-clever who still didn't know what he was about.

I never did get a follow up from Vin working the reporting boards in the BBC.

I can imagine the oh so many reasons for that.

All journalists are ambitious and you could argue there are just so many spots going available, however. . .

At BBC Breakfast where I was freelancing as a producer I bumped into an old mate from journalism school, the indefatigable and steady hands Daniel Boecher.

A new crop of journalists were coming through the ranks and I knew quite a few of them: Daniel, Iain Pannel, now Egypt Correspondent - whom I recall seeing shift at BBC Leicester, where I started my career. Paul Kenyon at BBC Panorama, we worked together at BBC GLR and Rageh Omar from my days at the BBC African Service.

I wanted to be a reporter, yes, but a weeny bit more please. Can I make a film?

There appeared no place in the industry to do that.

Journalism is creative with a "c" that varies in size depending who you talk to.

The morning meetings elevate telephone discussion and diffused idea to what you see on screen. And some of the aforementioned journalists are among the most creative in words, pictures and delivery.

But the medium of TV and journalism has parameters that you can not stray far from.

Beyond the VJ days
Videojournalism circa 1994 showed you can expand, but by 1997 I was having doubts.

The industry wasn't interested and I was stuck with a skill set going no where.

And in between that hiatus rather than concentrate on a singular path; how not to run an economy on an economc downturn, I invested more time in other aspects of visual story telling, meeting the likes if Jon Staton - an Ex Saatchi head.

And along that road came Flash with Hillman Curtis; graphic design, I have the first issues of Computer Arts, and then more DV stuff.

For me back then it was part about survival and part about enjoying a wider canvass to play on.

No one could have told me about this future convincingly, where being "confused" has a currency, though a number of magazines and experts flagged this up.

One of the most rewarding jobs to date in this new pot of the mash-up has been with Rob Chiu of the Ronin.

Rob's short film here looks at Global Refugees. It will likely do for its audience something news will not come close to. This is hard bitten story telling meets.

He rang me up asking if I could be in the animation, reporting sim world sound like real world. Here's the article I produced for .

You can hear me in the first few seconds. . .

And it's that collaborative space of interdisciplines, which thinkers like Paul, Andy, Mike Ward etc are carving out. A playground where we've all had the same thoughts staring at a blank piece of paper imagining what could be.

So I tip my hat to the MELD team for making this happen, for giving form to these thoughts, guidance to a world which only looks to become more and more complex.

The Future?

Worry about now said McLuhan.

Last year I met Vin Ray again. A colleague and I had devised a game, News City, based around Simms to test journalists and their reporting skills.

The BBC's Journalism College paid us as consultants to show them the bonnet and have since built their own. Version 2, 3 and upwards is ripe to be made.

What both Any and Paul say on tape makes clear what MELD is about.

And so version 1+ at Leeds, I have a plan, to pull out a few collaborative pieces that add to the conversation in this space.

Rob Chiu, Nato, the brilliant mashup guru Rob Montgomerry, and the new telegraph multi media journalists will do.

Like they say If you want to know about water don't ask a fish or as Andy adds, it's not just about the end product, but the process.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Post meld

Just got back from Manchester and Meld. Posting intro video of Andy Dickinson and Paul Egglestone very soon, but saw this on Andy's blog.

What the authorities should be doing here, which we do with NATO is put reporters into the sim.

Go to the Masters programme of your nearest or top journalism school and let loose the students so they can report from within the theatre of combat warts n' all.

I spent 18 months reporting from South Arica during its troubled time, and looking back on the more recent Nato reporting excercise I can tell you it it would have helped me no end on my real assignment.

Understanding stripes (ranking); three letter acronyms (Forces language); what not to do in theatre i.e. no room for histrionics actions and reportage; risk assessments about your own safety and the use of video journalism field editing and sat back packs - are just a few of the elements to look at.

One sim I experienced was so real world frightening, using Special Forces, that a student broke down crying.

So go set up the relationship Northwestern's Medill School, Columbia and the Missouri School of Journalism.

And if you need any assistance pleae do drop me a line :)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Collaborative journalism

In speaking at MELD today, 20 mins or so, here's more or less what I think I'd like to talk about

* Collaborative journalism
Despite massive changes in production, I feel collaborative journalism should be a big deal, but reflecting the sign of our times.

I mentioned this at Circom ( gathering of EU regional Television) that it was possible to become a jack of all trades and master as well.

Why not?

That's the whole point of multiskilling

And frankly the demise of traditional media that some hoped for will not materialise, as those that have adapted have found a new lease of life and audiences.

But there is a working relationship, not fully realised between the traditional and new, between using the miltary analogy a division about a 20,000 fighting force and a fire and maneuver team - 2 soldiers.

You could argue that traditional media already does with correspondents.

Part of my goal is to use technology and the net to look inside news and personalised programmes, and as such we'd do best to move away from the: If it's not broken why fix it.

This very thought hampers any semblance of experimentation and progress - one reason I suppose that last few years have a huge shock for the media.

Any successful CEO will talk to you about diversifying and trying to stay ahead of the competition

The disruption that's just occured has been brutal but many have been fortunate. The next technological wave may not give fixed thinkers time and space to realign and bring their audiences back into the fold.

More recently some of the methodologies I have been looking at closely within our field is
historical vectoring, Future Casting, Trend Extrapolation, and Scenario building, and based around that I think we'll have a few more disruptive processes in the short years ahead.

One question for instance dogs me. Why is the web an xyz medium presented to use in 2d? Which is why Second Life presents an interesting scenario.

And why are we still fixed to a method and construct of info flows that are being challenged by modern methods.. just some of the things I'm likely to raise with some new work

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Walking through websites

If second life is anything to go by, one day we're all be walking and talking and sharing info physically within our sites? Or maybe not!

Conservatives Promo - Saving the world

To a techno beat ( modernity); where's Vaughn Williams ??, the conservatives promo is a goody bag extoling a changing Britain under their office.

Fact? The streets of Soweto are safer than Hackney? That's pulling some comparison, based of course on crime, but its arguable whether all crime is recorded in the Township. I'm not suggesting it's less safe, just, perhaps the stretch of statistics.

It was produced for delegates so no doubt would have raised a few shrieks of delight and woopees. However as a promo for the masses, it does an Obama.

Not out of the US presidential race yet, but belatedly Obama has been obscuring his message with a wide splattering of "what he would do", rather than some laser precision hits.

The end tag for the tories is the old Clinton play: "Its time for change".

But what would be more effective for weary waverers would be a number of spots, illustrating Cameron's visions.

If the next election is at least two years off, I wager it will be a different landscape for the video's influence in the UK.

Meaning the parties will really have to work harder differentiating micro communities if they want to appeal to new constituents.

p.s whoever wrote the code for this, if they want it distributed through blogs needs a smack. Change the code!

Monday, October 08, 2007

BBC radio goes interactive IPM

PM, one of the BBC's stalwart radio news analysis progs is to launch a new show on Saturdays called IPM.

A show shaped by you the listeners, says the presenter.

It's a great idea, but why stop at the thought: You send us your ideas and we'll make the programmes etc. .

Why not give the whole thing over to listeners?

Read this legal issues for video

This is Kathyrn Corricks find on Facebook. Go read!

Kathryn Corrick posted a link
at 10:46pm Oct 7
Press Complaints Commission >> Adjudicated Complaints
A man complained to the Press Complaints Commission that a video published on the Northwich Guardian website on 14 July headlined �Teenagers torch moving train� and an article accompanied by images from ...
A wonderful modern morality tale. Or as Tom Watson puts it: "So your teenage son firebombs a train and records it for You Tube posterity. What do you do? You complain to the Press Complaints Commission..

Link here

MELD - When old and new media collide (UK)

While in the US my many friends revel in the dynamism of work and play in this interactive sand box, we in the UK have been sorely lacking in sticking are heads out.

Well OK we haven't then, but there's comparatively little PR on our ventures.

Take the Telegraphs new dedicated multimedia journalists - the first in the UK to go through the whole gamut of this black art. Nada!

So I believe a toast is due to Paul Egglestone, Course Leader of MA International Documentaries at the University of Central Lancashire.

Paul an accomplished doc maker, together with his colleague Super blogger and respected all rounder Andy Dickinson will be hosting MELD.

It looks like a fantastic idea knitting academia, industry and a number of agents together. (see below)

I have crossed paths with both, but this time am looking forward to sharing a few drinks and ideas, as Paul has invited me to be one of the talkers.

I have got a couple of tentative ideas; the most recent a small film I'll see if I can finish on time that looks at the first multimedia journalists hired by the Telegraph, who I had the pleasure of mixing with for a bout of video journalism.

See you at Meld

Press Release


A convergence of platforms requires a convergence of skills

Journalists know how to find a story and to tell it well. Interaction designers know how to get that story out to the right audience. MELD will bring the best of both worlds together to find out what happens when the two worlds collide.

The role of the journalist is changing. Affordable and connected technologies (blogs, YouTube, Flickr etc) means that everyone can make and broadcast content to hundreds, if not thousands, of like-minded people across the globe

How will the skills of traditional journalism fit into this shifting digital landscape?

How will a story stand out from the crowd when everybody is a reporter?

What will give professional comments and analysis more clout than an amateur blog?

How will journalists adapt to stay ahead of the breaking wave?

How can they harness the wisdom of the crowd?

Successful networked journalists will be open and interactive. They will understand how to facilitate and collaborate

MELD is an ideas-generation and development workshop designed to explore these issues

Selected journalists will be paid to join selected new media practitioners at a five-day residential lab. There they will learn the necessary skills for success in the connected world

The lab will be held on 10-14 December in Preston

Teams will work on real briefs from Industry partners, including some from Simon Bucks, Associate Editor, Sky News Online. Projects will be designed through a process of collaboration, ideas generation and development before pitching them to industry partners with the resources to make the ideas into reality

This is a unique opportunity for freelance journalist and interaction designers based in the North of England

The project will be launched at two evening events:

MANCHESTER EXCHANGE SQ. Selfridges Moet Bar 10th October
LEEDS Boutique Bar 15th October

For more information mail or phone 0114 221 0454 and put “MELD Enquiry” in the subject line if you would like to come along or find our more

MELD is brought to you by the Department of Journalism and Sandbox at UCLAN with Just-b. It is supported by the Northern Edge and the Northern Way


Press contact: Greg Povey, 0114 221 0454 or mail
Limited press passes available

The Net Death March and the Phd - Give your ideas away

I have been knee deep in a Death March and hence neglected the conversations of blogs.

For the last five days, interspersed with all manner of things, I have been keeping a TDB ( Till day break) vigil with the mother of all questions which would determine whether I could pursue a PhD part time.

I have wanted to jump into a PhD pool for some time now.

From some quarters, there's been some indifference, but having found an outfit, SmartLab, I'm hoping there's a change in the wind.

But more importantly what's the point of a PhD, and pray, you don't really need a couple of letters to make sense of, or plough a course in this brave frontier of a network world?

I can name a kerzillion good thinkers and innovators from the young media giraffe Adrian Holovaty to the seasoned journalists and Net zeus Dan Gilmore whose brilliance is not inhibited by the lack of those three letters.

So is it the prefix Doctor then that so attracts me ?

Heavens no!

To my students, those from the Far East and the US used to calling their educators, professors or Sir, I'm simply David and bristle at any insistence of formalities. I wear nike trainers, jeans and a shirt and am often mistaken as a fellow student.

I'm confortable with David.

Is it it the elitism?

Absolutly no!

There's a calibre of person who believes those words should ensure red coats drape the floor in anticipation of their arrival.

If you know me enough, you'll know what I think of that. Respect is earned.

It is reciprocated through mutual trust and being a Dr does not make you codebuster for The Poincaré conjecture. In fact if you're a jerk, it matters very little whether you become president.

So why, just why, given most of that I yearn to understand is more or less in the public domain to be found with some diligance, do I seek a Phd as its transaction?

Simple. I'm a bl***y nosey parker who wants to know stuff and believes being taken out of my comfort zone into a place where others excel, where people from all walks of life meet to examine singularities within a cauldron of questions and subtexts, will get me thinking.

In staying up more or less for three days, I have asked questions, deleted, asked questions again, scrubbed the timeline and at some point reached a point where I lost all sense of what I was doing. And then some clarity appeared, and then, only then was I able to write about that which I want to know.

I submitted my forms this morning - only to learn that, the host Uni made a small mistake. The PhD lab apologised profusely. Wasn't their fault, but the process has made me fire up a few dead axons.

I want to use this odyssey to walk the plank, just as all those years ago in a bunk bed with a lantern ( It was lights out) I wrestled with advance maths and integration.

I grew up in boarding school in Ghana, a bygone era where privelaged boys - sons of cabinet ministers, grade A students and a few dreamers competed with each other. It was so competitive that you took Atkins (physical Chemistry) to the bathroom and read while eating.

We were up at 5.30 and went to bed at 1.30, though lights out was at 9.00. We were all terrified of failure and everyone helped each other.

I had never been to a night club until I left the college and was 19 years of age.

Those truly were the days and in retrospect I loved them

The Blog Mentality

As bloggers we feed of others and I feel this journey may well help me find new food.

Truth, I feel bankrupt. That's not a bad things .

Paul Arden, an advertising genius' slim book "Its not how good you are, It's how good you want to be" unveils some interesting mantras.

Along with such motifs as "Do not seek praise seek criticism" and "Don't look for the next opportunity, the one you have in hand is the opportunity", is "Do not Covert Ideas - Give away everything you know and more will come back to you".

Ideas are open knowledge, don't claim ownership.

... More will come back to you?

That's it really, I want to be fired up with more ideas, go back into the lab.

Ironically the PhD outfit is called The Smartlab - it's a lab and so I'm back to the days of experimenting in petri dishes and pulling radios apart.

Could I have found that elsewhere? Perhaps, at conferences and Networks like the Online News Association, through friends, allies and blogs, books, interviews and meetings.

But I'm hoping for more,a lot more where I can share, mash up, invite critique and get your thoughts as well.

At the very least I'm hoping some questions allow me to dig deeper, produce a range of videojournalism programmes with more substance than this one Digital Diversity made for Digital Diversity at the ICA and displayed on Apple's site.

I feel like I'm entering a brand new gift economy, and that masochistically I can see more death marches coming on