Sunday, March 30, 2008

18 hours - Social networking

Late last night it started with an SMS, which I had to honour.

A class mate had lost his wife and the troops we're rallying to pay their respect and offer whatever support we could.

The unwritten code of the school I attended, Prempeh College is such that you almost drop everything when a class mate is in a crisis.

The term that underpins us is Amanfuor. This may not mean anything to you, but in Ghana or amongst Ghanaians it resonates deeply of kindred spirits.

The word literally means: one of us. It is perhaps the ultimate in social networking, which started 30 years ago for me.

Our thoughts go out to Akasala - our old mate.

Today, this morning and with barely a good night's sleep - the clocks came forward - a different kind of social networking.

Breakfast at the Front Line Club with about ten others, some of whom I knew, organised by Graham Holliday

Graham's a freelance journalist and blogger based in Vietnam and author of Noodlepie - a much heralded blog about going-ons in Saigon.

If you've been here you need no convincing, if you haven't then you're missing a treat.

It is many things - a restaurant, part of the produce comes from founder of the Frontline Club Vaughn Smith's farm - and upstairs a social fulcrum for various debates about the media and personalities. It is everything you wish your media could be driven by Vaughn and co, no stranger to the news business and any number of awards.

I was here some two years ago as a panelist at the Kurt Schork Awards in International Journalism - Celebrating & Remembering the Unsung Heroes of Global Reporting.

Today it was wild mushrooms and toast, mixed with conversations about the decline of the news media.

Vaughan has some great plans, which he spoke about and I'm looking forward to catching up with him again.

The crux of the matter is that there are alternatives to the status quo but how do you gain firm grounding in these shifting sands: wo/man against the machine.

On our way home, Duncan, whom I have been waxing on about for the last couple of days made me the subject for his everyday people project, persuading me to lie down on the pavement and pose ???"@!££$

I could have said no, but Duncan could charm birds down from a tree.......

And from our own wee chat, perhaps reviving the idea of the IMVJ tomb I have in mind - a combination of media theory, a journey through my own fuzzy mind, literally; and how tos when shooting stuff that needs to break the mould.

The stories would include: Britain's PM John Major'd leadership election, working the townships of Soweto, surveying the wrecks of WWI ships in Gallipoli, First Time Voters and the United States of Africa- the series, working with Lennox Lewis, my experience within the BBC and the ideas that went into, yielding stories such as 8 days, 72 Hours and the Cube.

We'll see.


Gareth Bartlett said...

Really enjoyed this video. Very engaging subject matter.

..and love the titles...

Dr David Dunkley Gyimah said...

Thanks Gareth.

I'm not chest beating in the slightest here, but I hope the video illustrates something around the practice of videojournalism.

That you can take what looks like the most inconsequential of issues, but with hidden big themes, and deconstruct them as educational/social news pieces.

And then the idea that this report might be the alpha but serve as a repository for others to add and mash-up.

The point is if the report can engage you, then you might, just might, click through the next one - UGC - by one of the group.

There is something in this VJ malarky :)