Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Indefatigable Micheal Rosenblum and the videojournalists

Moseyed down, quite fortuitously to Michael's site. Mike needs little introduction in the field.

When I worked in tele as a reporter/ presenter I had an agent and was featured in the UK's presentation bible. I was always tickled by the entry of Sir David Frost and if I remember John Humphries.

Everyone else had a mug picture and litany of past conquests, on Sir David's page all you saw was a blank sheet with Sir David Frost in black typeset at the bottom.

In many ways that's Micheal.

Jude Kelly the Artistic Director of the South Bank gave a talk recently in which she mentioned how people like pushing others of pedestals. "Who wouldn't want to push people off big pedestals", she noted.

She was drawing from her own career. The Dean of studies and one of my supervisors, Prof. Liz Goodman, added something else to this mix, that those of you planning PhDs or new ideas will upset a lot of people because they are new ideas.

Scholars make a habit of it and quid pro quo have to find intellectual critiques called literature reviews, so whether you're saying the bleedin obvious: "rain consists of water", expect to be critiqued for any number of reasons.

Rosenblum gets some people upset. When he says burn the newsroom down and rebuild it, there are no prisoners and pushing that analogy, the prison guards take a swipe.

You learn as a professional to take it on the chin. As Omar says in The Wire, "It's part of the game y'all".

One day I'll show you the email from the student who will remain anonymous who said to me ....You are no one, you *****er. I'll get my dad onto you. How dare you fail me. you don't even have the right skills to teach me....

He went to one of the UK's most respected universities - a point he made. C.f Cleese sketch above.

He used copyright pictures from a well known uncompromising photo agency. I had previously warned against it.

On the chin
Where was I. Oh yes. On Rosenblum's site

$ wrote the ff:

$ says:

David Dunkley Gyimah

Yet another VJ grad that finds the only way he can make a living, if that, is by opening up his own school.

Not a surprise.


I have never met $ and if he looked up the name he might have written differently. On the other hand he might not have. I tried to reply on Rosenblum's site, but somehow it's not posting, so this was my response at the bottom of this post.

Such responses , if one replies in kind, make for good copy, but serves no purpose at least for me. Channel the time and energy elsewhere I say and yes it's such a small matter (you know whatever!!). But over the years there's no denying that a number of practitioners ( I don't know anything about $ to include) are reticent, irritated, annoyed at videojournalism and its practitioners.

One major reason I have come across is because videojournalists are considered Johnny-come-latelies. Upstarts who have no idea of the profession of broadcasting or news and it's plain wrong that they should be elevated to the standard of professionals.

Marcel Theroux, an old mate and colleague of mine from way back in Channel One 15 years ago, is certainly not in that league. He's mentioned in Mike's post - another videojournalist. But he has network and international network experience behind him.

His documentary he presented on Art fakes in Russia for Channel 4 was superb. Marcel's professionalism is on par with his brother, Louis Theroux on BBC1.

I hope I might add as well with some immodesty that I haven't just fallen into videojournalism.

And what if you or I had just graduated or just discovered videojournalism and are now teaching, and I have many friends who fall into that category, frankly good for you/us.

Your own probity, efficacy, and delivery should be at the forefront of your mind. If you're no good, you'll get found out.

Charlie Beckett, an expert in this field of new evolving media summed it up on BBC Radio 4's Today programme talking about the Net and Murdoch's plans to sell news online. His reply was equally valid for videojournalism as it is the Internet, when he said you cannot undue the net, you can't put it back. It's not only here, it'll get more disruptive.

Any news manager knows that much now. I recall in 1996 news managers having a right old giggle at the idea the Net would ever threaten the news.

So, anyways, er, Michael where are you now?

My response to $

$ Actually I don't have a school but it's not a bad idea. I started at the Beep in 1987 going on to the likes of BBC Newsnight, and ABC News/BBC R4 in South Africa before in 94 like Marcel did Rosenblum's first training in the UK and started training myself in 1995 .

Did way more broadcasting/ new media before in 2002 became a senior lecturer (still here :) ) at the University of Westminster ( and more recently artist in residence at the South Bank) where I developed a module and lecture in called IMVJ -which involves css/html/xml site building story telling combined with design/SEO writing, site architecture and behaviour, Flash and Director with short , feature length and long format free framing videojournalism - in which I made a few stories for Channel 4 News based on my foreign affairs background as a member of Chatham House. I channel those into making features, as well as training like this one from Beirut etc.

You'll find a good example of IMVJ being my site www.viewmagazine.tv and soon I'll post the current installment from my International Masters students (I'm currently marking) which is just superb work. But yes, opening a school would be a grand idea.

I'm looking to curate an exhibition of videojournalists at the South Bank next year with the different factions of videojournalism I have come across on my travels, so if you have anything do let me know?

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