Friday, July 12, 2013

The new videojournalists changing the world - really this isn't a hoax

Firstly and swiftly, a disclaimer, I loath those PR messages and articles proclaiming primacy of knowledge. ..."Follow me, I am the best videojournalist in the world". We do videojournalism like no one else" . That videojournalist there is a numpty saying the same things I said".

Oh really and when did you hang out with me 24/7 since 1994 when I became a videojournalist?
Yes a respected videojournalist who thought he'd become the repository of all knowledge, having discovered videojournalism through the 5D, said I'd taken his idea.  Shrug your shoulders. I did.

So this post then is not a vainglorious attempt to grab your interest. The poster at the top is designed merely to catch your interest. Apologies if its worked. Everyone has their Warhol moment's but they're transient.

I work as a senior university lecturer for the University of Westminster. It's a fairly decent school for media coming 19th in the world according to the QS rankings. I tell my students the measure of you is to be better than what you think you can be, understanding you need everyone else.

Doesn't that threaten you, some students ask. Why? I reply. As trainers if we didn't set out to make those we're looking after, better than what we've tried, why are we trainers. Why would Ivan Lendl want to coach Andy Murray.

Incidentally, the top universities in the aforementioned rankings are: The university of Berkeley which came first, so if you're listening Berkeley - nod nod and in particularly to Richard Koci, (@koci)who over the years knowing him have developed a great deal of respect for his work. It was followed by University of Texas and Columbia.

Prelude - Back story to MIV
As a lecturer my job involves exchanging knowledge and I take it seriously and within an institution that respects and protects its brand. So what I am about to talk about in MIV should be taken in that spirit.

I have strong views on knowledge, but then again so do all university lecturers. But my approach stems from my ethnicity, cultural leanings and an abhorrence to elitism and ignorance.

Elitism in that state of mind that suggests you're better than others. You can be an elite, such as Dynamo, who without a shadow of a doubt is one of the most extraordinary magicians, you'll ever come across.

He levitates five feet of the ground in Brazil against the statue of Christ. Onlookers think he is the second coming. In Time Square he does the Neo thing in the Matrix and everyone phone starts to ring. He approaches a group of young basketball player and in his self effacing Bradford accent says "can I show you something". Cue. 20 seconds later, no edit. the boys look on aghast as he has squeezed their ball with minimum effort into an America football ball.

Yet Dynamo is the epitome of humbleness. The best athletes, dancers, creatives, videojournalists are aware that humility is a pre-requesite of who you are.

Today you're on top and might have clambered over your colleagues to get there, to realise tomorrow someone else's 15 minutes has come and that apple pie, you're not so much as having to eat it is being rammed into your face.

Ignorance, is the pretence you know, or the sheer ignorance that you don't know. Yes there are unknown unknowns. Poor Rumsey. His replicating of Jahori's philosophies, there are some things you know and some things you don't know you know, is  a well worked aphorism.

Rumsey, then Defence Secretary chose the wrong time to regale his audience of press people.

My ethnicity and cultural leanings power me. Black, grew up in Ghana until the end of high school. Returned to Britain to complete my studies. I chose Applied Chemistry. but when I graduated and wanted to become a journalist, it would have been easier to arrange tea with the Prime Minister.

Journalism, rightly so guards its values, but it invariably ignorantly and in elitist fashion, believes it must be the judge who can become a journalist and who can't. This may be axiomatic to some, but denying access to its operations because of colour, sex, creed is untenable.

The days of writing 300 letters might be behind me. The Internet has liberated the stranglehold the few had over the many. The institutions that once validated whether we could be considered journalists are no longer the abriters.

I read somewhere yesterday that Television still rules as the source of news, followed by the web. But the point is for how long.

If South Korea's market is anything to go by millions of people are successfully taking to personal television. And television has rebirthed but in new ways that takes advantage of our post-millennium behaviours.

This is then where I tell you about MIV. The concept has come from 6 years studying the media and literature to find out mine the intricate detail to make sense of. I am nearly there but in the process have recorded interviews from China, Cairo, Chicago, the UK, South Africa and many more places that paint a picture.

Here I need to be careful, but it excites me none the less. Somethings emerged from those interviews and in the process maps a future which is radically different to what we do at present. It all sounds mysterious, but for the moment, bare with me.

Robert Stam an eminent professor in film and media from New York says the place we are at the moment is much like the 1920s when anything was possible. And indeed that's where this research starts and makes its claim.

But what is MIV?  I'm about to post something on pretty soon.