Saturday, May 23, 2009
The revolution is not videojournalism
The revolution is not videojournalism. The revolution is NOT videojournalism
The idea that multiskilling is a breakthrough must be treated with some disdain. More than 2000 years ago the Greeks were responsible for a word that showed we had the capacity to call on widely different skills.
The dictionary indexes it as :"Polymath".
Back to modernity, media institutions knew, but ignored it. Naturally for the unions and for the media old guard, the notion that one person could do all this was as likely to happen as Dick Cheney adopting an Iraqi child.
Thankfully technology brought the media folk to their sense, alas some too late. Protecting 30% margin profits at the behest of new working practices has proven to be the wrong strategy.
The revolution is something else
In some ways we've seen and smelled the real breakthrough, particularly with ware like Twitter and blogs. Elsewhere in videojournalism it's been obfuscated, subsumed or suffocated under new corporate bureaucracies. McLuhan will have no doubt had something to say about this.
Twitter and to a degree blogging had no forerunners. You could argue diaries, and the telegraph - long deprecated - forced us to write in a way that was either personal, or economically with words since charging was by the word.
But no, the seismic revolution hasn't happened. A cultural, semiotic, aesthetic, phenomenological revolution is still as rare as gonzo was in 1950. In the 60s we got the breakthrough.
Having the tools to do the same thing makes no sense. The boffins who cracked (horsepower) motor engines might as well have devised the car to be pulled by a horse. We've neither changed the value and inter-relationship of news discourse or in the manner in which we seek to report it. All we've done is protect the brand.
Burma VJ by acclaimed director Anders Østergaard is a refreshing piece of theatre that mashes the form, RTS Winners Newsnight's 10 days to war, which left me breathless, during my RTS judging task, opens the door for what may seem radical but is a logical window to enter and explore further sans high budgets.
Perhaps Jerry Mander who wrote Four arguments for the elimination of televsion was right.
The medium is not reformable. Speaking of TV reform is as "absurd as speaking of the reform of the technology such as guns", Mander says.
Videojournalism, like photography's impact on the image, demands more. Its manifestation deserves better.
Its delivery, not as a tool, but its underlying psychology of visual thinking and ability to deprecate arcane agendas requires we look to develop a fresh language to deal with the myriad issues and stories rather than rehashing more of the same.
SXSW 2009 podcast- The film is not enough. Presented by David at Austin Texas.