Monday, October 06, 2008

Multiskilling should not be entertained, broadcasters told Video Journalists

Michael Rosenblum poked me; been a lot of chatter about Channel One lately.

Whilst I know there were organisations that shied away hiring any Channel Oners in the mid 90s, it wasn't the station per se, it was the idea that you could be multiskilled that was vampirish.

I mean have you ever heard anything more silly.

You can't possibly be a reporter and hold a camera; next you'll be telling me you're Harry bl***ying Houdini.

Back then if you said you did radio and TV, you were either very confused about your career or very confused about yourself. Mmmm might I have been both.

I'd spent a good 18 months before then living and reporting in South Africa doing TV e.g. ABC News and the series "Through the Eyes of a Child" and Radio for the BBC World Service and Radio 4 [ First Time Voters - doc].

In South Africa's still apartheid smouldering cities, if blogging was around then, you'd surely want to have done that too. More confusions £$@!!

Actually blogging was around, not quite out in the open yet.

One day I should just write what it was like reporting from South Africa: brilliant, surreal, dangerous, a world of contradictions.

Here I am on the eve of the election. A bomb has gone off in downtown joberg.

The impact was felt in the house I was living in, some two miles away.

The BBC World Service rang up, and as an ABC News Associate Producer, I got down their prompt and passed the cordons to inspect the damage.

Our camera shot some scenes, I had a friend fire off some pictures, did a piece for radio, then filed a print piece for a friend in London. Mmmm early multiskilling!!!

Prior to South Africa and just before Channel One I had seven years odd working and freelancing at the the BBC , including Newsnight and reporting for BBC's hip pre-incarnation of, Reportage - where we unwittingly used hi-8s for drop-in shots [Beep should really do something like this again].

Channel One was empowering, but it was way, way, before its time.

After working for them for two years and heading of to WTN and then four years regularly freelance producing at Channel 4 News, I'd meet the then head of ITN Stuart Purvis.

"Poor you", he would say, "Poor Channel One, but you taught us everything we wanted to know".

This was a classic case of early adopters and if you've looked back through social history and innovation, most EDs get it in the neck.

Oh yes irrespective whether you're good or bad.

Today some of the most talented on screen journalists around come from Channel One.

Tomorrow when you wake up to BBC Breakfast if you're not careful you'll be greeted by not one, but three: Chris Hollins, Julia Ceaser, and Tim Muffet in which it says on the BBC site:
"...he cut his TV teeth as a Video Journalist for London cable station Channel One - "a completely multi-skilled approach to television, and an incredibly steep learning curve" says Tim".
Then there's Guy Smith over at BBC London, Crime Correspondent etc..

And behind the scenes there's a whole army, so that's that then.

It clearly has paid off for some.

In my next post how to tell if your spouse secretly fancies your best mate.

Now I have just located this tape of Channel One, with the great Late Sir David English and Michael Rosenblum.

Er, I'm not nostalgic for it... C'mon you have to move on, but I admit as an academic now it makes for great thesis material.

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