Sunday, February 17, 2008

The British VideoJournalism Revolution from 1994 to now

What defined videojournalism? How different was it to Television? Why was the first practitioner in the UK a newspaper outfit? And where next can it go as the main debate focuses on primary implementation?

In a series of talks and webinars I'll be producing facts and films from archives, never seen before, that might give you a better understanding of what we're doing now and how that conversation developed 14 years ago

The British VideoJournallism Revolution
No company, or era captured the essence of this brave new form of journalism called Videojournalism in the UK than Channel One TV.

For its first birthday, the accolades as you can see ( Click Image) were a fulsome acknowledgement of the changes enveloping the media; the seeds of change had been sown.

What its first 25 videojournalists knew back then, supported by innovative management and technicians, will not surprise many of them today.

After the first year some of Britain's biggest names in the media and politics paid their respect.

  • Tony Blair MP, not quite Prime Minister said:
    "Congratulations to Channel One on its first year. It has already been a regular fixture of all important news events and I have enjoyed speaking to its journalists. I wish it every success in the future"

  • Jane Root - at Wall to Wall who would be the first ever woman to become a channel controller at the BBC said:
    "Congratulations to Channel One. We've been delighted to help Channel One prove that good television can be low cost and high quality as well. Channel One deserves to be a great success.

  • Chris Crammer who was head of News gathering BBC News and Current Affairs and would go onto CNN, he said:
    " Congratulations to Channel One. Video Journalism has really made its mark. You've broken new ground in multi-skilling and competitive coverage. The Industry should take note"

    And then Stuart Purvis, who was chief executive of ITN, the UK's biggest independent news provider said:
    "Congratulations on a year of Channel One. You've already developed lots of new young talent and taken some impressive steps in multi-skilling".

    It wasn't only that Channel One was radically changing the face of News and Programme production, but had implemented a next generation management tier with innovation at its core, and a revolutionary news output system that had hundreds of programme execs visiting the station to learn how it was done.

    "We used track and rushes, so sometimes wouldn't see the inside of the news station for a week".

    The programme went out live, but it wasn't live, unless so various times when it created a tear in the schedule for its juke box play out system that looked like the Enterprise. One person could control everything.

    Many of those innovative assets have been lost or not yet resurfaced.

    800 people across the UK applied to become Videojournalists. It created a wild amount of curiosity.

    What is videojournalism? How does it work? What sort of stories will we cover? How will we compete with the likes of the BBC? How hyperlocal can we get? How will we cover nigh beats as soloj journalists? How will the internet aid our quest? How much will videojournalists earn? What is their future? And how would they like to shape the future?

    Remember this was 1994, 14 years ago.

    Some of the VJs would later become household names in the media at large, and multiple industry winners as well.

    Marcel Theroux, son of the famous Paul Theroux and brother to Louis Theroux, sat opposite me has made several ground breaking docs. Dimitri Doganis has become one of the UK's most formidable doc makers winning awards for features such as the Siege of Bethlehem for BBC TV. Julia Ceaser, an entertainment correspondent now fronts BBC News 24s Economics programme and Rachel Ellison, now an MBE went on to tutor female journalists in Tajikistan adn was Editor of the BBC's World Trust.

    We all met in one place, with high ideals. What we knew back then has been rerun in a new paradigm now.

    In posts to come I'll share some more of the history of Channel Oners and the flame it lit that is now subsuming news. And how full circle 14 years on a new phase of videojournalism has opened for me, which involves looking at Future TV, Presence TV and IM6 Videojournalism, which I was invited to speak at the BBC's Leadership forum.

    Next stop - how to fold videojournalism on itself and eschew VJ made for Television's stanza

    Rosenblum said...

    Having been present at the creation, and having brought the VJ concept to Channel 1, as well as having trained all the VJs, I am most interested in this. Please feel free to get in touch.
    Michael Rosenblum

    Dr David Dunkley Gyimah said...

    HI Michael

    Indeed, from this end, some evidence at least that the industry had high ideals about the concept wat=y back when