Monday, September 03, 2007

A face and name to watch - Tamer Al Mishal

It's what we do.

But now the stakes are raised. Within 5 years time it will no longer be a novelty, but then we might have moved onto something else.

The young man I'm talking to is a friend of Alan Johnston, Orla Guerin, Jeremy Bowen, BBC and non BBC figures interested in reporting from one of the world's most challenging areas.

He came to the University of Westminster having endured days latched to an overcrowded bus. Such is the border restrictions from Gaza. He had experience of producing under his belt, trusted by the best journalists reporting from the region.

At the university both students and lecturers who crossed his path were in awe and great respect at his professionalism. And that now has been readily rewarded.

Recently added to his credentials, the ability to build a web site from scratch. More importantly how to write for the web using google-rich links so ones copy goes to the top of search engines.

But it was in the dark art of video journalism that he excelled, probing, asking, executing - matching theory with practice. There were many Masters students who pushed at the boundaries of video journalism this year.

That's not merely shooting television, but learning a fresh visual language of going native. Getting intimate stories.

All those students represent a future which challenges the status quo of "traditional" journalism. People who can work different software, take a script and turn it into compelling television by themselves, understand how the web will shape what we do. Their turn will also come.

But for the moment, our sincerest congratulations and very, very best of luck. It is fabulous and fantastic achievement.

Ladies and gentlemen meet the BBC's Gaza Correspondent at its soon to launch Arabic service.

His name is Tamer Al Mishal, Class of 2007, and you'll be hearing a lot of him.

Full video interview later in the week

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