Sunday, June 29, 2008

Digital Journalist versus Integrated Multimedia Video journalism which one's the future?

It's a fairly provocative statement: Digital Journalist versus Integrated Multimedia Video journalism, which one's the future?

But it sits at the centre of the new debate about journalism and video journalism and in an age of multiplicity, contracted tech changes, journalism's loose footing, and the odd fad, it's worth considering.

To start you could fold integrated multimedia video journalism ( IMVJ) into Digital Journalism - which is a broad church definition, which also suggest Digital Journalism's supremacy.

The future of media is digital as opposed to analogue, so to the digirati, just like Cypher in the matrix, it's all just code, ones and zeros.

Some outfits however interpret digital journalism as video journalism so on a pedagogic level herein lies a crux.

What is video Journalism and how you build a VJ outfit from david dunkley gyimah on Vimeo.
Extract from the World Association of Newspapers shot by Robb Montgomery at

And then there's the brand name in itself; the word "digital" envelopes a profession, a magazine, a movement and its cutting edge, as in photography.

So where is IMVJ placed in all this? Video journalism is implicit as is multimedia, but the strong ideal is fathoming how they link together in myriad ways.

MTV's Pimp My Car might help explain:

There's the car, a vague name check of its creative team include: the designers, the engine's engineers, the body work specialist, the electrician's hotwiring one function to another e.g woofer bass to indicator, and then the car tester. Does the damn thing work better?

What if you could roll those into one?

We've seen it done in video: the editor, camera operator and reporter have become a single entity.

What is Video Journalism? from david dunkley gyimah on Vimeo.
Wonderful succinct deifintion of Video Journalism from a Cairo University lecturer, whilst David was touring hte region

But the 21st cycle of news dissemination embodies more than the legacy of TV.

The web, photography, multimedia, data, mash-up, coding, industrial vs minamilist design, public interfaces, mobile, blue tooth: these are just a few of the things affecting an evolving vocation/profession.

There are many who would argue, "Hey video journalism is difficult in itself where does it stop? "

It doesn't.

If you manage to pull out any of the newspaper cuttings from Vj's 1994 entry into the UK, the press and commentators then were vituperative to say the least.

How Michael Rosenblum must be allowing himself the last laugh.

And I don't believe anyone would say Journalism is a dead profession because it's always moved with the times.

Addison and Steele and their equitone language - a renaissance in journalism writing in the 1700s is testament to that.

Journalism's changing timeline
If you look back on Journalism's timeline you can afford a hearty chuckle, because at every bend, every crossroad where change is talked up, there has metaphorically been blood on the floor.

What we're doing now, a debate about what it is and isn't accompanied by civic and the odd perturbative comment is merely to confirm we are

  • a) creatures of history

  • b) Nothing's new

  • c) We indulge these debates; it's part of the learning process.

    But as I say all the while in these debates: we have choices.

    Future student factual media maker

    What I'd like is for one of my ex students to be in a queue of candidates for a job and when his/her turn comes, they exhibit how to integrate, mash- up a single story into multiple strands and have a working knowledge of how the creative systems work.

    I have seen many students take the reigns, and Tamer Al Mishall, now working for Al Jazeera is a firm example.

    When he arrived from Gaza he'd already had a working knowledge of TV as a BBC producer. But what he took away from our university's program was a rounded knowldge of integrating multimedia and video journalism, and a passion and hunger to continue to learn.

    When he left us the term hadn't even finished but he competed for one of the top jobs in the BBC's new Arabic Service, Gaza Correspondent, and piped correspondents and reporters twice his age. Tamer is twenty five.

    An IMVJ approach has as part of its DNA a strong emphasis on pushing video journalism - the language - and if you were with us at Camp VJ in Chicago realising there are no rules in this visual medium.

    Every single one of them is a guideline meant to be broken by you at some time.

    "Tagging and Blocking" perhaps offers the most aggressive form of video journalism, understanding the arc and the subject-verb within a frame.

    IMVJ Project

    An interview with the BBC's Head of Multimedia News, Peter Horrocks, offers an idea of an IMVJ approach.

    Here's the question: you've secured an interview with Peter, what do you do?

    Here's my IMVJ approach, which encompassed FCP, After Effects, Dreamweaver, CSS, Photoshop, illustrator, Flash and some action scripting.

    Since making this I have since learnt how I can give you more control using a custom made player. ( I'll change that soon)

    And there are many many more examples, which I have come across on that awe inspiring site MultimediaShooter - now sadly defunct. I can't say whether the pieces I marveled at were made by one person and if they weren't that isn't ultimately the point.

    The IMVJ way suggests an understanding of the work flow enough to comprehend the basics of what the chain is doing.

    Specialism 1 vs broad knowledge 0
    In 1999 I had lunch with a BBC exec; I had been referred by another senior figure. He mused over my CV and said: "Yes we must get you in".

    It never happened, because of one overriding statement that would follow me into interviews: "What exactly do you do?"

  • In 1987 I started at regional BBC, leaRning to make packages and driving a Mk III desk when presenting.
  • IIn 1990-92 I was doubling up radio with TV as an AP producing reports.
  • IIn 1994 -At Channel One I turned to videojournalism and the web, building sites.
  • IIn 1997 - whilst doing any number of the aformentioned, I started working with an Ad design agency as a creative director creating interactive ads made with video and Flash. Remember quicktime hotspots.

    By all accounts to many execs my CV back then was a mess: being a specialist was much more preferable.

    Today? Well there's another debate!

    IMVJ attempts to roll in disciplines from TV, Video Journalism, Radio, pod making, web writing, print, magazines, motion graphics, web and interface design within the ethos of sound story telling underpinned by fairness, accuracy, objectivity and ethics.

    And that's just one part carved out within this expanding realm of digital journalism

    The future of journalism from david dunkley gyimah on Vimeo.
    Extract from The Outernet, David peers into a future of video journalism in this film shown in Berlin
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