Monday, October 12, 2009

Response to Leftclick about videojournalism

This post on LEFTCLICK ( a blog) prompted this response from me. However LEFTCLICK has disabled links so I have carried the email reponse over here.

VIDEO Videojournalism -- new media and the activist milieu
Posted by Dave Riley at Monday, October 12, 2009

I had been researching the various online options in way of advancing one's political perspectives. So I moved from cinema verite to documentary making to journalism -- but to a new type of journalism : video journalism......


Hello Dave

Nice comprehensive post. I certainly wouldn't call myself a star and wouldn never ever dare suggest I've exclusive rights on the form i.e. videojournalism.

Videojournalism is such an amorphous categorisation of a relatively new art, compared to say feature film making or television.

Our history in the UK is that a group of journalists, including myself with backgrounds working for network TV e.g. BBC (1987 onwards) and ABC News (94), were fortunate in the mid 90s via Rosenblum to launch the UK's first and only dedicated videojournalism station. It was owned by a newspaper.

Before us there were people shooting video by themselves, they just didn't call themselves VJs at the time.

At Channel One TV circa 94 when you're producing 540 stories a year, something happens. You begin to develop over the years new ideas about video form. Call it Gladwell's 10,000 hour (not a strict premise) towards expertise theory.

Today by my reckoning videojournalism can be video news, features, motion graphics and even integrated cinema-journalism - a form which is practised on my site and has since been introduced into one of the world's leading single cultural arts centres The South Bank. They now recognise videojournalism as a new art form.

The previous poster Jerry Lazar captures the zeal of this VJ explosion, as do a number of other sites Mediastorm, and multimediashooter.

It's worth noting that whilst there are semiotic differences within the form, there will also be cultural schisms. Hollywood is different to UK or European film making as US television news' metronome is different to the UK. Videojournalism will also thrown up differences. It's not a one size fits all.

As an academic and one of the directors of the UK's broadcast journalism training council - UK wide body that bridges broadcasters with universities - the aforementioned has become increasingly evident.

Your quoting of Kiarostami also chimes here with a reply to a post from last year.

If you're planning on immersing yourself in the form look out for someone/an outfit who can introduce you to the diversity of the image in the moving form e.g. docs/tv, stills, vertical cutting, accelerated video and the rest.

I was in Beirut recently working with some superb young videojournalists. Hope this here helps seeing what's possible.

Happy vjing :)