Thursday, January 14, 2010

Rebirthing journalism, storytelling and videojournalism

Judging the RTS Innovation news awards

On Thursday January 14th, I had a moment, mini disruptive epiphanies - a rebirthing of storytelling and journalism. I hope that's not too strong a word.

It started at 10.15.

In central London at RTS' headquarters we sat.

Iain Dale; Toby Castle from ITN; Martin Turner, BBC; Deborah Gorbutt APTN; Phil Wardman and Nart Bouran, under the stewardship of chair Nigel Baker - Vice President of AP's Business Operations in Europe, Middle East and Asia.

The task, to find the UK's most innovative news. And there I must leave this, for the deliberations must remain unspoken until such time as the winner is announced at the awards ceremony in February.

RTS Awards
But what I can say is these awards serve to illustrate a changing face in journalism aided by an assortments of technology and the web.

Last year's winner was Newsnight's 10 Days to War and the year before The Guardian newspaper became the first newspaper to win an RTS with photographer Sean Smith's solo videojournalism work in in Iraq.

Midday as we wrapped I headed off to the South Bank. There we're a week into one of the most extraordinary plays in interdependent interaction. Artists - poets, film makers, musicians - from around the world have gathered to share ideas.

For the past three days I have had the deepest privilege to learn and listen to Mark Cousins, one of the UK's leading film historians, critics and film makers and they've been explosive, yielding new thoughts - a rebirthing.

By 3 O'clock I had dragged Mark ( sorry mark!) across town to the NewsRewired event.

In the 15 minutes allotted me, I hoped to sow ideas that we could follow up later that looked at the historical, technological and pedagogical sense of videojournalism.

The brief is this. Videojournalism born many years back is badly in need of a debate which explores the pluralism of story telling and how new organisations work within the gaps.

It requires a forum that discusses form and function and how we mine a deeper context for exploring data that matters to you.

I'm grateful for the wonderful feedback on Twitter.

Back at the Southbank and one of the most extraordinary films I have seen in a while, a UK version of boys in the hood meets the Wire, which makes adulthood look very tame.

Quite simply a remarkable film casting non professional actors in a backdrop of grime.

So why do I allude to a rebirthing?

The debates here, on my PhD programme, and at the university open up an incontrovertible fact in knowledge creation.

That the ideas lay within us but they take on an extraordinary lustre when we dare to step out of our comfort and entertain others to speak.