Thursday, December 31, 2009

Bummer on The Time's links

We all make fools of ourselves from time to time. My faux pas excellence was committed a few minutes ago on the The Times' online.

An Afghan report had me wondering how a reader could be so overt in his praise for said actions.

Of course comment is free and extremist views are a component of polarised societies.

I clicked to find out the name of the author - a track back. Odd, there was no link on the name.

My nephew then asked me about his home work project and then the next thing I'd realised still pursuing a link, I'd clicked "recommends".

Horrified is too light a word.

So in my either paranoid state or rather frankly normal sedate demeanor for the record that clicked link from my ISP was a MISTAKE.

Now I'd only wish they'd provide ample gutter between names and "recommends". Grrr

Friday, December 25, 2009

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

What do you want from Videojournalism?

Videojournalism training in South Africa

If you're looking for some of these from videojournalism, then I look forward to saying hello and getting reacquainted in 2010 here and in

  • Ability to make good films
  • To understand how to make different films appropriate to the subject
  • To be fast at turning around films
  • To get access to your subject
  • To speed up your workflow
  • To gain an insight into a relevant history of image making
  • To see how you can use videojournalism in various innovatory fashions
  • To keep up to date with new practices
  • To experience the works of those that inspire us all
  • To see what you could do differently to traditional media

If these are some of the things that by mistake or purposefully landed you here, then in the 2010 I hope you'll come back.

Because in 2010 I'll be shaping towards the above in greater detail.

For instance, there's an interview with Rob Chiu whose Fear/Love series around youth issues explains how to make stunning shot films, using DV Cams and Reds, but also how you produce short films that don't lecture to the audience.

See Rob's trailer here ( You won't be disappointed )and then see his interview on click "scene". Government's take heed.

In Collisions from the (South Bank Centre), some of the foremost experts in film and video will explain where next for the medium. I have my own interests in cine-videojournalism, but there's more, much much more to hopefully sate your appetite.

I'll be talking to a range of bodies, whom may be interested in your talents. For instance with the Olympics looming I have been having a wonderful conversation with various bodies e.g. Sports governing body at looking at new ways at recruiting multimedia journalists.

Do drop me a line to say what you'd like to hear about as well. Happy Holidays.

David Dunkley Gyimah
Senior Lecturer
University of Westminster
Artist in Residence South Bank Centre

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Videojournalism 2009

A more considered post, but a brain dump as I skirt around the playground of content, redesigning to show body of work, journalism and videojournalism.

In 2010 can he (President Obama) help us to help ourselves? The montage on viewmag

2009 saw many more international outfits become vanguard and repositories for others to express the form.

It has become many things for many people; a diffusion of indexality.

Essentially, what is it? And does that matter?

But borrowing the last comments from cultural commentator Paul Morley on Newsnight Review, next year will likely see room for greater interrogation and expertise of the form and interpretivism.

The "experts" will by default have to explain their ground; either in the brilliance of their work, don't talk, act. Or through reinvigorated arguments which increasingly will have to work across genres.

This is not new, but the ambiguities of 2009 and before will need closure, just as we search for new ideas, as marketeers and sociologist convince us of a new dawn in 2010.

Graphic journalist Joe Sacco's Footnotes on Gaza, Newsnight
- is one such example, which reminds me of Rob Chiu's Black Day to Freedom, little discussed in comparison articulating oppression and war.

Graphic journalism taking on weighty subjects in reaching out to new audiences - deprived of meaningful international news.

Rose tinted eyes
It's dangerous to look into the past, because it has no limits, but when Janet Street Porter claims the 80s, 90s TV were memorable for the experimental programmes she made, she has a point.
  • Will we in 2010 find the funding gold at the end of the proverbial recessional-media obsolesce rainbow?
  • Will the next election welcome smart mob usage? They did it with rage against the machine, a metal sound to thwart Callow's X-mania.
  • And will there be genuine stake at new ideas, rather than the recycling of old the earth is flat. Yes we know, but what's being done about it?

And before I sign off offering yuletide pleasantries, a bit of mischief digging out this clip of Strictly Come Dancing's supremo 2009, Chris Hollins.

You probably didn't know this, but he started his career as a videojournalist on Channel One TV. This was his first stab at presenting Sports News.

A Safe and prosperous Christmas.

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Joy of the Dentists Chair

The searing, whining mosquito-like noise is deafening, followed by a suctioning and scrape akin to chalk screaming on a chalk board.

At the dentist, there are no auspicious welcomes; the chair sits invitingly, but any joyous thoughts of the day ahead are quickly removed.

For the first time in my life, I sat in the chair, voluntarily.

This is the second time I have ever been to the dentist; the first 15 years ago, which ended with a bit of scraping here and there.

Last week I figured it was time to check out my gnashers again.

And now, now, I know the trepidation. Fortunately, no fillings required, no loss of enamel, but some calculus in the gums.

Dentist and Diet
Big sigh! I don't eat sweets; can' eat chocolate (makes me sick) and am allergic to coffee, which is why the poor woman seated in front of me in a train, had to move.

For five whole minutes I convulsed into a coughing fit from the whiff of her brew. Er Sorry!

In South Africa, my diet became a ribbing issue: Gosh I'm one of the walking pharmaceutical police.

What does this E number mean? And why has this got Sorbitol? Believe me, if you've spent any time in Applied Chemistry taking modules in food science, you might have reason to be sceptical.

By the way if you're buying baked beans, buy the smaller tins, the beans inside are much tastier - something to do with the amount of heat and calorific value.

Back to the Dentist Chair
What does calculus mean, I enquired.

Apparently, some deposits which required cleaning otherwise overtime, it eats away at the bone tissue.

Therein followed that noise many are familiar with and a lot of toe curling. Thank goodness for the space in my mountain boots - yep it's been snowing here too.

A couple of times I had to raise my hand for the dentist and assistant to stop ; the pain, momentarily deep and excruciating.

"I'll probably book you in for another appointment under localised anaesthetic. Ah more joy to follow, including current payment for my consultation and cleaning - 160 UKP.

Wow, we are in the wrong profession.

The ridge of my teeth feel strangely sharper. Oh how I might now wrestle a wild boar, deflesh it and rip into it over a charcoaled fire. Yum!

Except that I'm hardly a meat eater, so instead I'll run my tongue, my new game, over the ridge of my strangely newly minted teeth, and write this blog, before sitting down to work.

Mmm now my mouth feels numb......

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Person of the year - video makers

Paying hommage to Time magazine, which still drops through the front door on Saturday with the must-read Joe Klein.

Somehow, Time isn't quite the same reading online. Notwisthstanding their site design, for such a bastion of journalism, leaves a lot to be desired.

Old Media, New Media is getting a fair amount of chatter again. Signs of the recession coming to an end and thus the asphyxiation of old media.

Plus Simon Cowell's trumping x-Factor ( 20 million people watching the finals) bodes well for the town crier:

Here yea, hear yea Television is the next new new thing.

Can't be wrong either as Forester unveil some recent stats that say TV is still wining out in time spent on the Net amongst the screen generation.

So what does this all mean? Well as a researcher you could argue the toss really, even with stats which don't tell the whole picture.

Frankly, there's going to be no takeover; pictures didn't do it with reading, tv didn't do it with cinema. More, a correction, using stock market language.

A correction that puts more emphasis on efficacy, ease of use and free.

Something tells me next year's going to be very interesting.

Tribute to Great British Poet Adrian Mitchell

Adrian Mitchell famously said of Poetry:

Most people ignore most poetry because most poetry ignores most people

He was a towering figure [Wiki entry], but I won't pretend to be the expert or anywhere near that on him.

Above, this is from London's Royal Albert Hall on June 11 1965 called "To Whom it May Concern.

Part of my sojourn as Artist in Residence at the South Bank Centre is to capture what I would call moments and this is a treasured one behind the scenes as family and friends gather.

A tribute show was planned for the evening and with 2 hours to go, Lucy McNab, one of the producers at the South Bank, somehow got me into the rehearsals.

Not that I didn't want to go, more what would I do, as well as not intrude, as everyone quietly prepared themselves for the evening's performance.

Sasha who features in the video, very kindly leaned over to me, said hello and then asked what I was doing.

A three minute garbled spiel followed, before she concluded: "lovely!"

I hope this is OK.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Lecturing - an arcane word- but how do you get the best from students?

The BBC Journalism college, now available online.

Rhetorical question! Firstly this is a personal post, I do not speak for colleagues at my university, though they may agree with some points, let alone.. you're ahead of me. Good!

Secondly, this is just a few thoughts - and thus should not be taken as academic principles.

There, disclaimer done!

But Lecturing does sound in our times a dated word. I guess it's such a fixed sign, that there's no chance of coming up with something new, though I'd welcome a stab.

Do we really lecture nowadays. Er, Yes! But it's more than that now. It is a conversation, er.., it's a swapping of ideas.... it's facilitating... I hope its something than merely standing at a lectern.

The last of these comes from a former Vice Chancellor I interviewed, who claimed with the wealth of knowledge out there, that soon lecturers will take on a facilitating role. You can watch the interview here

MAJI times
I had a four hour session with some of the Master in Journalism students from the International stream couple of days ago.

No, there was no lecture, just four hours yeah non-stop talking about everything and anything.

One of my earliest put downs by friends was : "he can chat!", so I have never been shy of that but the point I'm getting to is how to turn the study room from this evocation of a lecturer's ideas, but something where there's ongoing interaction.

Set the parameters and allow some slack.

I hope we ( Paul Majende and me) achieve this in some small way, but the bigger question is still creating an environment where students feel free to engage at any level and start a conversation.

It begs a question whether in a room of future journalists my role is about processing ideas or being part of a set of new ones. Wasn't the latter the raison detre for universities a good number of centuries ago.

I guess its a bit of both, but the US provides an interesting charlie brown blanket. Most of what we've come to know, experience and use in newer journalism has come from seekers of tertiary education and the ones that graduate.

Innovators and receivers
Granted not everyone can be an innovator. Why Not? but I love the idea of pushing against structures and looking at the wheel. Not to long though, otherwise that job for grads goes elsewhere.

I'm ruminating on this, because there's a meet up in January courtesy of Lorna from which might help us discuss the changing roles of journalism training.

Yep not about to throw the baby out with the bath water. But there is something in this; the BBC once again raises the stakes, with the public launch of its journalism college.

How do we lecture in a web 2 going on 3 age?

Google your 15secs fame- "david" yields Beckham, Lloyd and Dunkley Gyimah who??

The email entitled: "Your google Fame - David Dunkley Gyimah" surprised me as much as it had a friend.

Did you know if you google "David" you come up this. Jammy how did you do that?".

Truth I did nothing, but I had to take a look. After all who wouldn't. It wasn't as if Nigel had googled "david dunkley gyimah", just "David",

And there it was, for a fleeting google time span below "David Beckam", "David Lloyd", and "David Dunkley Gyimah," in a sea of 664,000,000

Back to reality, I'm hardly known in my own school. I admit I have shaken Nelson Mandela's hand once and stood next to Jay-z thinking what should I ask him?

But no there's nothing I do that remotely goes anywhere near what that lot do, which is why if, you're now testing out that link, you'll see nothing.

There, I have disappeared again.

If you're not on Google, you won't be read

Zach Leonard, Digital Media Publisher of the Times writing for WAN's yearly media guide says journalists need to know how to write SEO friendly copy. Between 30%- 60% of the Times' traffic comes from SEOs, he adds.

If google can't read your story, no one else will he concludes, which means for my fleeting ranking, I could have been read, that is if you were looking for "David".

What does this all mean, apart from a whiff of vainglorious exposure? I'm reminded watching Kevin Bacon on a late night show saying he googled himself to see the Kevin Bacon game that is six degrees of separation.

Not a chance here, but there is some academic bent to this, which I spoke about at a presentation last week for which that's all I can say because I NDAed.

The point is a creeping change to journalism courtesy of SEO, which stands to commit those to adopt spider-friendly vernacular.

Google - what would it do?

Google's tightly guarded "Mama's sauce" which gives you a presence in its rankings, is predicated on a number of things.

Broadly the idea of referencing, just like an academic article with its bibliography is key, as is its streamlined, perhaps even accelerated form of writing which until recently was some wierd alchemy.

Tabloids come close to the patter, accelerated meaning short sharp action key words. Yep I can hear you say, "We're doomed".

But the English language has never stood still. From the realms of hear ye, hear ye ( articles I have been looking at from 17th Century Journalism.

Then there's Addison and Steele's equitone, to a refined form in the late 1880s of a third person voice and the various narrative styles spawning any number of literary genres.

The difference this time is it's cyber. You needn't know how to spell ( yeah look at me) produce good grammar, or write a coherent sentence, so long at you know the shwei.

This is not entirely right, but it does raise issues of primacy across search engines and the extent of SEO. If you googled the White House in the 1990s you'll know what I mean. Will Bings algorithims set different standards? And what about the next engine after Wolfgang Alpha?

Who knows, other than the fact I'm intrigued and am hedging by bets that it won't be long until we'll be seeing the emergence of a brand of Super SEO journalists trampling the big establishments with news copy and their mega audience.


Sunday, December 06, 2009

Inside the core of social networks

Cine-Video Journalism Anti Aesthetic II from david dunkley gyimah on Vimeo.

A social network interdependent assembly of people, deconstructing wikipedia.

That's more or less it. No less a revelation than saying chimpanzees are carnivorous. Yes they are!

I'm given a talk to a couple of FTSE 100 companies in the coming weeks in which I'll pontoon my right-side thoughts (mainly research PhD) over the horizon.

For all what we know about Social Networks, it's not the now that interests you as intensely as what happens next? Not to mention also that Social Networks still largely promote hierarchical relations. Bummer huh! Everyone wants to be followed - the sub cult of celebrity.

The now is very simple. People who largely participate in Social Networks -that's a weird way of putting it - do so for largely purely implicitly selfish reasons. Unless you give to an NGO or cause and attend luncheons.

Social Networks are as altruistic as a burglar leaving a house with no goods. OK that's a tad glib, because it's not a static sentient. But the reason we engage in them is because we want something.

Networked Socially

I follow Mashables because I want knowledge. Everything about them is cool and rockstarish, but I'm fickle and am not a mate per se in the classic definition.

I'm not part of an inner core which is bound by different principles, but I may rise to a request if the outcome is symbiotic or favorable to my sentiments.

That is if a website I liked was about to close down and I was a big fan I'd sign a petition. But my involvement is limited.

The idea then that your raison detre is to grow a humongous following on twitter then has Freudian value, unless that is you can constantly shift the outer core to the inner. We need to know we're loved.

Small wonder Twitter now has categories.. Hmm the people I really like and those that I like and those that I almost like as well as the others and .... well! Don't get me wrong this is not an attack on Social Networks. I love em. But I'd like to understand them better as well. Read Smart Mobs.

Networked On

So what next then? Aha! My editor would wish I save these opinions for the book I'm writing.

That said quite a handful have been splattered in my posts from years back somewhere and over viewmagazine, which when I ditch CS4 will get to some designs and fresh cans of packaged knowledge.

One of the legacies of being an academic is that you're always working. I read so many books, that I becry the fact that I don't read enough. PLEASE SEND ME YOUR READING LIST

Years back I interviewed a senior intelligence chief ( ex CIA) who told me everything the CIA needed to know about Intel can be found on the web. (This interview was produced in 2002 when Flash had no controls - really must change that.)

The web, once a pipe, now a connector of people and repository of vast knowledge is onto its next star trek moment.

Google unleashed or is that relaunched the beast a couple of days back with intelligent personalised searching. Soon you really will be saying computer

"how soon till Jim turn up?"

Computer: "three minutes".

It's simple triangulate Jim's coordinates with his geoposition and as a personalised priority search the computer knows who you're talking about. Such data mining is already possible.

Conference for art & journalism thinkers

But that's not really what interests me. It's the confluence of forces within the three Rs and for adland sense you'll forgive the tautology.

  • Readers or reapers - you harvesting knowledge
  • (w)righters - those that give. Trad media had a puritanical view to this. I won't bore you with my history lecture circa 1700-2000
  • Resources - Oh how the 30% margin has changed, but making 1,000,000 UKP a month C'mon what's there to argue.

It's all changing, will continue to change and the signs for regeneration presuppose when solutions are found to any one of the variables and their problems there will be swift adaptations.

Yep we're fighting the first 21st century global knowledge war and with all wars there are always casualties and then personnel beef up, return smarter, wiser to start again. Watch the calender for China versus the US, which will dwarf the debate about journalism and who pays and who goes to the wall.

So please join me if you will, because as part of my artist in residency at the South Bank, next year I'm looking to produce a conference that takes artistic license in unravelling a parallel planet earth, already beset with all manner of changes.

The World in 2020 - and how we got there.

Now that involves a nice bit of knowledge capital to give.

David writes: watch out for information about Collisions - the coming together of some of the best thinkers in their field at the South Bank. I'm building a site and prepping film. You really don't want to miss this. Think of putting a range of TED speakers in one room