Saturday, February 28, 2009

Newsnight shows a future of journalism

Newsnight's triumph at the RTS Journalism Awards for its programme 10 Days to War, has a larger resonance in television news making.

You can't win em all. In this case me, as whilst I was enjoying 70 degree weather and mixing with the folks at wemedia, I had also forfeited my invitation as a Jury member to the Awards night.

There's a lot I'd like to tell you about this award, and that has footage from the event, shot by video journalist Don Omope.

That should be up by Monday. See you then.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The new mediaists - photos

Pics from wemedia.

Brian Storm of Storm Media with Jessica Stuart, Project manager and Tom Kennedy, formerly Head of Multimedia at the Washington Post. Out of shot, you can just about see his hand is Rich Beckman - often referred to as the Yoda of multimedia [ I heard that]

Pic of Tom and Jessica free framed by Chad of Wemedia. That is Chad's not looking through the camera and just firing off shots. Free framing is the new in thing now. Produces natural and sometimes beheaded shots.

I so loathe posed shots, but I was more than up to taking a snap with some of the figures I revere in this emerging profession. The facial expression is me barking at Chad, who's just free framed and is now having us count down for the shot.

Chad it's digital, blow film :)

Donna Shalala's thoughts - Wemedia

Always refreshing to hear someone articulate thoughts and spiels you've preached and in this case they don't get any bigger than the former secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala, now president of Miami University.

Ms Shalala, being interviewed at the WeMedia gathering spoke about the curricula, she uses to lecture her students.

It's a paperless environment, with knowledge being shaped online on Blackboard.

And it's a changing curricula. By the year end she noted as and when new things happen that gets pulled in.

Classes are blogged, and there is a heavy reliance on Facebook, which is monitored.

Importantly in this instant society, students she said have to be more aware of what they do and say.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

New Multimedia report

What's interesting about the film, which has DNA similar to Mike Figgis' Time Code, The Usual Suspect and the daddy of them all Rashomon - about a female assault from four different angles. etc is the multiple narrative approach to unravelling/piecing together a story.

The web site also sets up a playable game which no doubt will be translated to market research.

Photo/painting courtesy of the 1st-art-gallery.

I wrote about this some time back, but it continues to concentrate my thoughts and sets up an interesting question.

Can multimedia also infer multifocal or multimodal?

By its very nature and multiple delivery of assets, the PC is a multimedia tool, but how much bearing does that have on a lingua franca of "choice reportage - perspectivists approach"

In a videojournalism report I'm now compiling, what's clear is the multifaceted nature of term "multimedia" across disciplines from modern day founding father Vannevar Bush to today's graphic design community and the media.

there's an interesting moment in the film when we're at the Telegraph's hub being shown around by a senior executive and somebody asks how the newspaper and its web version reports are constructed. It's one of the hidden arc segments of the film, so you'll have to click on the film to access this

In itself there may be little to fuss about, but in semiotics this will have a bearing on the nature of the narrative in reportage.

To get a sense of this obvious focal story, what part do others in the picture play?

Before Broadcasting
Before the language of broadcasting was refined, a legacy, but not quite a whole lift from newspaper reportage's equitone from Addison and Steele, how robust and expansive was the storytelling language?

We might now easily take that for granted, but centuries ago, there was a different discernible paradigm in play.

Broadcasting, 60 years old, brought its one set of rules; the ever expanding web culture has its own.

Multimedia Reportage AD
A hypothesis: the bible - one of the oldest and most popular tombs lays a claim to multimedia reportage.

Matthew, Mark Luke and John - four differing perspectives towards one event and to fully comprehend the Bible the reader is required to cover all four gospels.

Some 500 years before this painting at the top by by Luca, Giotto di Bondone one of the greatest Italian Renaissance painters did the extraordinary with visual narrative and lines of perspective and focus.

By jumping through the periods you begin to get an idea that our way of doing things now is not so sacrosanct - time and change move very slowly over periods of decades rather than centuries.

So to this painting again and the original piece I wrote, as I get back to editing this multimodal report.

See you at the Cultural Exchange.

I stood there mesmerized for ten minutes, just studying the piece.... read original piece

The arc of film making in studios

The video Journalism arc - the point of techncial film making...

Unless it's compelling and Obama's campaign manager David Pouffle touched that in parts when he spoke about how he ran Obama's campagn, but in truth unless a number of variables collide, film making in a studio is asking for trouble.

The guys at Ted Talks do a good job, but these are not acceptance speeches but ideas quickstepping on stage. And, they've workled the rehearsals. Other things, it's a multicamera shoot, so visually you're stimualted by the shot changes.

With sound, they're also plugged into the 'boom box' via their xlr jacks, so no compromise on sound.

Wemedia's setting offers some of the challenges, prevalent in many studio shoots. It's a venue to make participant's feel as comfortable as possible, low lights, curved auditorium - no blind spots and so on.

Conversely it offers challenges for video journalists. But I have learned from experience, so
first thing I do when I have a shoot is to scope out the room to eliminate or work around some of these variables, which is what I'm doing now.

Zogby - it aint all doom and gloom pollster says

John Zogby kick started wemedia 2009 with a detailed response about the attitude of the 18-29s.

Dubbed the globals, Zogby a renowned pollster and publisher of The Way We'll be tracking young people's behaviour says they're far more optimistic, than might be the presumed thought.

Many, far more than previous generations have passports, have travelled, can count friends beyond their own neighbourhood, will hold down many jobs, are pro choice, and are likely to be democrats.

Asked two years ago he says about what the US would look like many cited Obama, even before Obama was well know.

John was being interviewed by Andrew from wemedia.

I'll be posting a series of tees and bees from wemedia with vids etc.

Posting video blip soonish of Dale and John talking, -shot on Simple point and shoot Canon IXUS 70.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Marc Andreessen _net guru speaks. Listen

Highly, highly informative interview with a giant of the net. Marc Andreessen interviewed by Charlie Rose

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Watch those recommendations for the CV

Looking for the next job, then just how valuable are CV recommendations?

Aaaah C'mon.

Steve emailed me. Came across a recommendation on and said given how things are, I should keep it quiet.

Well I don't advertise it, but hey there was a time when if you said you worked for The UK Prime Minister's brother, in this case, Andrew Brown, as one of his political producers that was a real kitchen-party filler.

What's he like? What's the goss in which I'd always say I don't know. The other name that stirs such comments is Jon Snow, whom I worked with on several projects during my 4 years continuing freelance work at Channel 4 News

Really nice bloke, Andrew, the editor of a show about politics who later move into Public Relations - one of the city big ones. And Jon Snow is just Jon Snow, no airs or graces.

His CV recommendation came at a time when I was making another transition, a new career. I'd tied up my last job as a full on broadcast producer or reporter.

Broadcast's narrow field

It was great, but the broadcast industry is a small one, bound by sometimes what seems like masonic codes.

You're only as good as your last job. Your first job as a graduate may be a reason to celebrate, but it's the second job that feels like a bridge too far.

And then after your upteenth job, you find you're in no better position than when you started. Nothing is guaranteed.

This year media grad applicants for studies are said to be up, there's a crunch and jobs are being shed. It does not bode well.

I recently bumped into an old acquaintance. A once prodigious producer at ITN, who could keep up with the pace no more, the relentless meetings, the indecisions, and has thrown in the towel.

In his forties, he now drives a taxi and is retraining to become a lawyer. I so wish him all the best.

The new horizon in front of us gives new purpose for the digital journalist, the digi-native to colonise new lands, new openings.

It's not going to be easy, and there's still going to be more blood on the floor.

But there's no reason why as a start-up journo or dye-in-the-wool, we can't think about being ambitious, about turning ourselves into that we can only imagine uber Journos.

The VJ Manifesto

As the VJ manifesto I've been formatting says, something that hasn't been done is waiting to be done.

Its theme also underpins an idea which good friend Rachel Armstrong a writer, multimedia producer, and general medical practitioner from The Bartlett has been talking about to a couple of think tanks in Norway.

Unlike a decade ago, your greatest showcase for work now is your online portfolio and the links and feedback it generates.

We live in far more interesting times now and perhaps today's recommendations, and I don't deny we're always need them, but perhaps we won't place as much much store in them as we did many years ago.

Digital Creatives - multimedia video journalists

Digital Creatives - multimedia video journalists. - The tools, how to be a multimedia journalist on

More Coming Soon

Joys and Images from Phd Away week

Smart lab is a trans discipline outfit within the University of East London, which runs one of the most unique practice-based Phd programmes in the UK.

Three times a year we gather for away days - a week of intensive seminars and papers.

It's a chance to catch up with one another, observe the development of ground breaking work and learn ourselves about issues frankly we might rarely come across.

Each morning we start with a warm up exercise which sometimes incorporates a problem solving task. Here, Smart Lab staffer Deveril is getting us to feel our space and self. In effect it's not too disimilar to Tai Chi warm ups.

Bruce Damer, Pioneering virtual realist, ex Nasa, talks about his Phd research work, creating an evolution grid in virtual realitiy. His intentions to create artificial life in VR mimicing real life.

The implications for medicine and discovery cures, he says, could be huge.

Fabulous exercise in problem solving in a group by Deveril.
1. Write down a pressing problem.
2. Pass it onto someone. You remain anonymous who provides a solution
3. The anonymous person passes it onto a third person, who attempts their own solution.
4. The original problem and solutions are read out; then put on table for all to read.

My favourite solution to a problem was this ( the bottom paper, above)
"Coming through Customs, the officer asked me how I managed to acquire "stay" status in the UK. Why did he ask that? Was he allowed to?"

The response was
"Keep focused get through customs".

Taey, an artist, performer and writer presents in her 30 min slot "Dictee and the Travelling Language" - an analysis of Theresa Hak-Kyung Cha, the basis of her Phd research.

Flaneurism, dream sequences and the influences of the little well known, but hugely significant Theresa Hak-Kyung Cha are laid out. A mental journey, and so layered was my thoughts.

Behind the camera about 20 or so Phd Students are listening providing critique feedback and questions

The image behind Turliff s Captain Jane way of the the star trek ship Voyager. She's asking the computer to materialise a cup of tea. That's the reality Turliff is working to for his Phd.

He passed around a 3d object which was created from a 3d printer. The computer conceives the constituents of the substance, then sends it to the printer. Human Tissue is one of the areas on Turliff's radar.

Sapna preps for her presentation, a documentary maker. She's researching the cause-effect of people with disabilities engaged in interviewing and doc making. Sapna is situating herself at the centre of this research, as someone with a disability herself.

Below she demonstrates in a ground breaking performance how she is able to play an instrument through eye movement on a device called Mytobii. (vid coming soon)

I'll post some more from the extraordinary people at Smart Lab in the near future.

David Dunkley Gyimah is researching the Outernet and innovative programme making at Smart Lab, looking to build on his own theory of film originally posited by Delueze

How to answer a political question

Andrew Marr on the Andrew Marr show asks renowned South African actor John Kani the following in relation to The Tempest, Shakespeare's playing in the UK in which he stars.
"Are you suggesting an African audience is more in touch than say a western audience?"

Kani's response is one for those interested in journalism and politics to take note.

He replies to Marr:
"Shakespeare is a gift to all humanity and nations so we to adopted Shakespeare as a great son, so African audience relate."
Brilliant, but why am I so enamoured by this.

In pshychlogical and forensic interviewing, this is a classic case of "shaping". Marr, cleverly, posits a question whose natural response is a pithy "yes" or "no" often followed by an explaination.

Kani, who has come through South Africa's torrid Apatheid regime, thus de facto equiping him with the nous to answer such a charged question, skillfully parries Marr.

Politicians are taught how to shift from a shaped question. But often do it so clumsily you know it's a prepped answer. In those cases the next question is crucial. For one of the best shapers in intervewing I'd suggest Jeremy Paxman

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Boston Globe's 7-part series on Ted Kennedy

When the Boston Globe is running this. Phwoah! What's the point of television?
You've got to see this. A 7-part series on Ted Kennedy with 6 major videos and other multimedia. I'm going through it now

Thanks for sharing this with us Thea who's the senior multimedia editor/video at
The Boston Globe

Get Rewired -Transform your journalist brain


Rewiring the brain and changing habits and attititudes to fit the postmodern journalist: the uber journalist, the multimedia journalists.
Zinedine Zidane, the retired French maestro of football says he misses the greens of the pitch. We miss him too. He had a great football brain.
The late Stanley Kubrick is recognised by Spielberg et al as creating the best ending to a movie in Paths of Glory. He possessed a marvelous film brain.
Some of the greatest journalists of our times: Vitali Vitaliev, Cronkite, Dimblebee had remarkable journalist brains. But what do we mean by that?
And what about now? Is there such a thing as a multimedia journalist brain? I suspect there are two different types of journalists in this web 2.0 era and I'm not talking radio verses TV.
Autoself On
I studied Applied Chemistry, which amounted to many years prior of studying the Sciences, but I was also interested in Art and the Arts. I took Art "O-level", and only gave up afterwards, because I needed to make a choice.
The episteme of the arts and science occupy polar schools of theory and knowledge. Art employs metaphor and image, while science utilises numbers and equations, says LeonardShlain in Art and Physics.
In student common rooms both set of students tend to dress differently, work differently and exhibit different demeanors. That, much I know from hanging about with Art students.
Then I went to journalist school. In journalism it was about the rigour. There was process. We might have been creative in the story construction at Channel 4 News, but the canvas was hemmed into the parameters of what we define as news.

Auto self Off - The Multimediaist
Multimedia embraces technologists, artistry and media. You'll debate around the houses about where and when it was first used, but I'm opting for a contemporary peg from the works of F.TMarinetti and the manifesto of he futurist cinema 1916 .
When Marinetti says
"We shall set in motion the words-in-freedom that smash the boundaries of literature as they march towards painting, music, noise-art and throw a marvelous bridge between the word and real object."
He might as well have been speaking about multimedia, though this statement is attributed to Cinema.
Technologist Vannevar Bush's 1945 essay "As we May Think" is a vastly painted ambitious world of tomorrow's unfolding multimedia.
Gibson (Neuromancer) puts multimedia as an ongoing discovery of how things ( mind and universe) fit together. It's not an invention, but a development. Then there's MIT's Media Lab.
In a research film I'm yet to put together the positions of different camps within multimedia come across are clearly.
ZDF, Mainz, (public service TV) which has fully embraced multimedia programme making.
In processing, reading taxes the left side of the brain, whilst images (TV and PC) the right.
So here's the big question. Could it just be that in spite of our attempts and successful ones in many cases, there is fundamental aspect of multimedia training, which does not start on a two week training course, but way before?
It embraces behaviour, psychology, attitude, creativity, work flow - an unfolding meme. The advance maths of my degree allows me to see multimedia as calculus (see image below). What's more it's arguable traditional journalism and its reliance on the word is at odds with a mash up pop culture of art and images.

The analogy of multimedia ( some journos just can't see it)
By way of an analogy, consider the difference between the digital native and digital ignorant journalist and I'm thankful to my good friend Barry Sandland from MSF for this thought-bubble.
The digitally ignorant journalists sees their work as a process of discovery and division of labour. Furthermore they can't and won't reconcile any notion of the validity of ablog/tweet/vj piece/ongoing thread, and that it adds value to new journalism, even when its subjective.
The digitally native, sees no distinction between the tools and process. Am I digitally native? I knew a world before the net, so don't fall neatly into the marketeers social bracket.
But I did know when I was diving 50 metres into the sea in 1999 in search of a forgotten war ship that it would merit multimedia packages: a radio piece for the world service, a video package, a Flash promo, a website and an article and diary, which I posted online. For me this whole process was merely the circulation of ones and zeros.
But back to the real (emotive word) digital native. Who are they?
They'll twit; pass you onto to their blog, which will subjective and describe behind the scenes; write the article which will be objective; make the video; build the pod; shoot of the promo, with SEO; and build the site; and then some (watch for the next app).
They'll do this because it's as normal as reading the papers. And each iteration will be different, adding context to background, to news - that you can use.
CNN says "Kill what you can eat". The Digital Native Multimediaist says "Eat anything there is to sustain you".
David sees a mathematical representation of multimedia via Integration.
And the future multiamediast won't be tied to traditional journalist outlays. There's a new world opening up, if we trend extrapolate, which traditional journalism will have to respond to or surely atrophy. But that's a different post altogether.
NB this week I'll be reporting from Miami's WeMedia. Also hopefully tomorrow, I should be in a position to sort out some archive I have just discovered for, which includes an extended interview with Louis Farrakhan, Ertha Kitt.

Friday, February 20, 2009

A video journalists hostage to Hmong - CIA supporters

Video Journalist Tom Birtley was given a message by Hmong families to deliver to the United Nations.

To prevent the persecution and hunting down of them by the Laos government.

Tom's powerful video journalism piece does more than that. It delivers a message to the world.

If it wins the Concentra VJ Award which it should, his objective would have been served.

But it nearly came at a price. He says in his piece he came to expose their plight and instead they then decided to keep him hostage.

Having travelled through dense forest to find them, his personal safety at risk; if Laos soldiers had ambushed his group, he most certainly would have been killed, they ungratefully, desperately held him captive for a week.

This piece underlies a crucial aspect of video journalism, to eke out stories where crews would no doubt have trouble treading.

That said, a report on the desperate peripatetic Hmong has surfaced on Channel 4 before under the dispatches genre, but it does not diminish Tom's effort and his work.

Last year he was a finalist at the Concentra Awards with his Myanmar Crackdown piece. A thread is developing - a fearless photojournalist with a movie camera.

It rather reminds me of the work of Yannis Kontos, an award winning photographer many times over.

Tom is in stellar company, Travis Fox, Alexandra Garcia. Travis, an Emmy Award winning Videojournalist has himself been a finalist, but I don't think they'll begrudge Tom if he gets the gong.

This is exceptional stuff in its factual story telling schema, and a mint of-the-cuff piece to Camera.

And he gets to deliver more than a 1000 letters could say to the UN, a video piece of insightful information.

When videos go Viral

The latest to screech across the net's highways is, yes Cadbury's chocolate again.

Them folks have a habit of doing this, following successfully on from their Gorilla video.

Around 1999, whilst working for an old Ad hand, Ex Saatchi Jon Staton, we had one visit from the brains behind the Viral factory.

It was a trite difficult then to see how you could provide off the shelf ads, which could then be tailored for your brand.

But we quickly learned. How do you catch the zeitgeist? Innovation of a kind that surprises, runs against the grain of imitation, and at best may look naturally spontaneous.

Virals put you on the map, harnessing the star dust that follows is another matter.

Net superstar Matt Harding, did well out of his dance across the world, "Where the hell is Matt?" - an ambitious one off. But could he do the same for a company and frankly does he want to?

Is it a about being funny, passing something on or as the word suggest getting people talking about you. Once people catch a cold, they get well until infected by another.

Either way like it or not there's always a viral on its way

Skills training - what should we be doing for the digital journalist

Skills training is not enough for the digital journalist

wrote the following on 2009-02-18. Here's a snippet and below my response

...The skills, though, aren't the answer. As one news executive said, "We need to take staff to Web 2.0 and beyond – to make learning more nimble and flexible." This executive, after putting staff through training pilots, realized that multimedia literacy and a basic understanding of what it meant to work in a Web environment was what people needed – before they could go about learning the hardware.


My Response

The premise was clear, if journalism was about providing information/ facts, why wouldn't we use everything we could conceive of to do that job.

An expedition to Gallipoli to war graves in the Dardanelles from WWI resulted in a blog, article, radio piece for the BBC World Service, Video and promo. This was 1999, a few years before web 2.0.

I had been a Videojournalist by then for five years and a network producer/ reporter for 11 having worked for the BBC, ABC News, WTN et al.

Nice post Nikki. Like you today I'm an academic and other things.

I'd argue, you might agree, this is a much deeper disco which requires more sustained attention in these transitional times.

Firstly, the new art of journalism, multimedia and that's how I view it, "an art" requires different creative modes of thinking - design, narratology, image aesthetics etc.

(Network) journalists at best can find the appropriation of terms such as "network" frustrating. That's not Becket's fault. And when did a conversation become a conversation . How does that work? I'm not claiming ignorance. This shift to this new weburnalism is attitudinal.

Can we teach creativity? No, correction, can we learn to be creative? For even teaching and learning aren't the same.

My point there's semiotic and linguistic differences that tend to alienate people, just as I/we might get annoyed trying to learn a foreign language, and that is a huge impediment.

In many cases it's not that we don't have the right tools, it's the orthodoxy and methodologies that need rewiring and often that's a lengthier, more radical process.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Normal Videojournalism, Multmiedia Service

Shot from Apple pro site David talking about future media

Sorry normal service begins early next week. Currently head deep in Satre, Lacan and Bergson.

Next week from the cognitive mix capital of new media, Miami, I'll be reporting from WeMedia Game Changers, Miami University, and I'm told leading/co leading a morning talk on media.

That it comes a week after Phd stuff makes for an interesting mix, as we try to redefine parameters and what we can do. One new definition of VJ from a narratology POV is the cognitive sense of abstract material into a plot. Some contemporary social thinkers then build on this, because VJ is expanding into Serious Games and VR worlds.

As I speak one of the big Europe operators is building an avatar of a VJ which has complex behaviour patterns to do some amazing things. Imagine that, an avatar filming avatar and editing that mixed with live footage.

Very excited! Meantime, back to the books.

p.s Thanks to the good folks in Mainz at the VJ awards and for the ribbing from the apple pro article.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Big theme ideas

A lot of people marvel at Smart Lab's phd programme. Most Phders are left to their own, to forge their own path and possibly see their supervisor once every eclipse.

We meet three times a year in full on one week sessions that cover interdisciplinary approaches to learning.

This morning started off with the new dean of the computing school, popping by to say hello and given us a presentation. He said some profound things backed by a ppt on how he devised a programme to test the effectiveness of e-learning.

Extraordinary. I so need to post this in more detail. But the slogan he left us with was we've haven't changed us system of learning. We interested in teaching, but the idea of standing in front of a board, black or electronic, has not enhanced the student experience.

He cited the case of a tracking programme in a research study whereby the majority of students were only interested in passing exams, not learning.

Susan Korzel, faculty, whose speciality is philosophy and dance took us through an eye opening journey of writing about yourself yet apt for an academia. It's not as easy as it sounds.

The epistemology is known as Phenomenology. I'll post more on this and some of the fab things to emerge from smart lab during the week

Monday, February 16, 2009

The madness and bonkers morality of media

A 13 year old makes a 15 year old pregnant. It makes headlines in the UK. Days later, a TV company and various other media want a piece of the action. Monies, how much, no one knows has changed hands.

The boy's parents have as a publicist one of the most astute operators in the business, Max Clifford.

Either way, this is a slow train crash. Welcome to the freak show. Don't misunderstand me. I'm not saying the boy, dubbed "boy dad, name, Alfie Patten,and his family are freaks.

I'm saying what TV will want to do with him to make him sell, both here and on the international market is akin to freakdom

So Alfie how are you going to take care of the baby and at 13 do you think you'll stand by the baby's mum to take care of your son?

But barely has the ink dried when two other boys 14, and 15, step forward to have their photos taken saying they are the dads. One says he had permission to sleep with the girl.

Now there's a DNA test in the works to prove who the dad is. Fame gone wrong. The madness and bonkers morality of the media.

The message is clear. If you have an 8 year old. Force him to make a girl pregnant and wait for the press and media to pay you up to 1 million pounds. People will tut tut but you'll be better off in the end.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Video Journalism at a Cinema near you soon -Brothers in Arms

The DVCam holder on the left of this shot, Jake Rademacher (JR), belies the fact he made this film exclusively on a HD Cam Video Journalism style.

A cinema film like this made by a VJ may well be the norm in the not too distance future, but that's not completely the point here.

The impression is not intentional; it makes a great poster shot for his film Brothers at War.

Jake (JR) has an idea, to make a film around his two brothers serving in Iraq. He has no military experience, so he's up against it. The brass won't let him in, he's a first time director which also means no one's going to back him financially.

But he prevails. I have teased some bits from the press pack, and what emerges from the trailer is an intimate, and harrowing account of one person trying to understand what's going on in Iraq.

This is the stuff of Louis Theroux, but more personalised and without any of the trade mark Louis setups as Jake embeds with combat troops. And that's why it paints a picture of where video journalism could go.

Press Clipings
Take this section in the press pack.

Q.Then came the work of filmmaking?
JR: Yes, Norman and I secured final permission from the Army. We then had seven days to do all the pre-production to prepare me and our two cameramen ( Marc Miller Conor Colwell) to film in a war zone. I'm talking cameras and equipment, body armor, immunizations.

Everything. At one point, I was running to my car after getting immunized and a policeman was writing a parking ticket. Without breaking stride, I yelled, “Write fast. I'm going to Iraq tomorrow.” She tore up the ticket.

The quick turnaround is video journalism workflow. I imagine he shot loads, whilst a VJ would have been more judicious, but Jake would have still worked on the premise - "let the story unfold" and roll with it.

And when that doesn't work, situate the lens [ direct] in some dramatic scenes, dovetailed against compassion - the classic movie arc. That's the VJ way of working, the compressed time scale.

Here's another section from the press pack.

JR: I sent the treatment to my cousin, Mark Bowden who wrote Blackhawk Down. He thought the idea had promise and put in an introductory call at a couple of
production companies. At the same time my voice over agent at William Morris put
in a call to the reality division at the agency. Everybody passed, so I started to pitch
television networks myself, who while intrigued, weren’t too excited about sending a first time filmmaker into a war zone.

Q.What did you do?
JR: I hired a film school student who I thought had talent to come with me to
Fayetteville, and film my brother’s departure for his 3rd deployment to Iraq. Then we worked together to cut this into a trailer. Conor eventually became one of our
Directors of Photography who I brought with me to Iraq.

A college student?
JR: Yeah, I got him back in time to start his senior year.

So a college student shot some of the sections. That's indicative of the new Video Culture.

Whilst the film is called a documentary, a reference to the outcome, the work flow and process is indicative of the new hybrid between documentary and feature news, video journalism.

The four camera shooters including Jake is what's referred to as "VJ swarming" which is necessary in order to capture multiple angles.

But the ambition is clear. It may not be on general release, but for the flag waivers of the new video hegemony, this means something. Mind you, a caveat, some powerful backers come onto the project, but Jake still had to fight for this to happen.

I'll be talking more about VJ's future at SXSW where I'll be presenting on IM Video journalism, breaking the process down at how VJ is part of the new accelerated cinema phenomenon and how you could push the movement-image cinema feel.

Cine-Video Journalism Anti Aesthetic II from david dunkley gyimah on Vimeo.

IM6 VJ -Integrated Multimedia Video Journalism at SXSW

Just as you see here, and on, the idea is for one person to be able to make the film, make the promo, build the accompany site, blog, SEO the articles and draw from other sites, make the multimedia package and the photos.

It's not uncommon for me to have AE, dreamweaver, photoshop, FCP, open exchanging files between them, each serving a different purpose of the IMVJ cycle.

It is not as complicated as it looks. In today's digital economy, it's one seamless work flow. Thus when you have four people with the same skills (the swarm, a military term in itself) you up the work ethic into a multi work flow pod.

In the case of Brother at Arms, his story making the film is equally engaging and could have been blogged/twittered, followed by clips that could have gone viral.

I did this as a creative working for Heavy weight boxer Lennox Lewis, releasing Flash promos of 224k that would download on broadband in seconds.

See you at SXSW, and if you're in Miami Wemedia Game Changer, lets talk there too.

WANTED - Open all hours Video Journalism from david dunkley gyimah on Vimeo.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Blogging with authority - linking matters.

Blogging on steroids - You Twit! Join me

Funny how something rather innocuous is a fav put down here.

Phd week next week and I'm knackered. That's when 40 plus cohorts and the supervisory team meet on campus at the University of East London to peer review, learn new theories of knowledge, and rebuild contacts and confidence.

That we all have different disciplines, from Dance, Virtual Worlds, to Art makes it extremely interesting. For often it's outside our own contained worlds that we pick on new ideas that influence our own.

One thing that has struck me regarding Phd submissions is the world of difference that exist between writing academically and journalistically. Though each requires attribution, in academia, rules such as Harvard's citation reference is a prerequisite.

In the blog world standards can be more loose, to the point that by dint of what we often say, every one's an expert.

We gesticulate, offer opinions to defend, as well punt our positions. I do it regularly. It is the commentators' prime armchair position, where one often feels emboldened by one's own knowledge.

Knol, google's equivalent of the blog, Wiki of course too, challenge those lofty spots we take. If it's not backed by a credible source forget it.

The most difficult aspect of writing for a journal if you ask media grad students is "attribution".

And while there's nothing wrong with commentatory, its credibility often comes with either years of experience from the writer or being privy to a unique birds eye view/ position of events.

Self authorship, the latter has become the web's standard, but if you are considering journalism as a career, you might want to consider honing reports about what others say.

If you're at wemedia in a fortnight, see you there. The line up is looking sick! as in really good!

Video Journalism Awards - winners announced

The Truth about Germans is they've rather gone off sauerkraut which is a bit like saying one day Italians will sneer at spaghetti, Americans will barf at apple pie and the Brits will call time on fish and chips.

Michael Wigger the man behind the series which pokes fun at the light and sublime - Germans can't dance - is the new kid on the block with the new comers award. His work added the kind of mirth needed for this years' celebration of video journalism.

That's solo video journalism- one wo/man band - and her distance cousin who brings in an editor and sometimes second camera to help.

"It's no longer this thing people laugh at uttered Sabine Streich, the awards' tireless organiser, who's notched up her fourth in 6 years this time in Mainz, but will no doubt take a hiatus as she's about to produce her own real-life project.

What's evident from the number of interviews I conducted is that Videojournalism is a big deal here, accepted by ZDF, their public network in the same gusto that the BBC had wanted to show its viewers before the governors pulled the plug on hyper local TV.

It's about story telling ultimately said the head of ZDF, but there are some stories that it comes into its own, namely one spine searing piece on an alcoholism.

Here a drunk ala "Leaving Las Vegas", without the glamour lives his wretched life in full glare of a camera and the frustration to near death of his family trying to help him, as he reaches for the nearest bottle under his desk is tortuous.

Gulp glug glug it's down, the whole gin bottle in one go as if it were water.

My own bit part performance involved handing out the award for the International independent division, a prize whose effects on my own career I know all too well from winning two years ago, reminded by the presenter.

The victor here, Frank, was a veteran radio, turned TV, turned Vj with a piece on Tuna.

More, a report using Southern Italy as a subtext for tuna fishing's woes, that is depleting stock, and the disharmony this may reap, when the community finds its dwindling catch destroying the cohesiveness of their community.

As Vj awards go, this year's compared to the one two years ago was a more intimate and compact affair; no cinema viewings and late night parties, but the truth is the Germans know how to show the rest of us what videojournalism's all about - even if they don't like sauerkraut that much anymore.

nb: I'll post video awards on

Monday, February 09, 2009

The Financial Times and Owning it.

I bolted out from bed on Sunday and for half an hour obsessively scribbled away. An hour later like a hard drive I'd dumped thought and could not recollect the arguments.

Luckily my notes will help regenerate a thread that was about Journalism looking for a way out.

Simply, if the acquisition of facts helps us shape what we know and if there exist a way to acquire a route to more knowledge to assist our decision making, then we must see the this new church of info generation and flows as a fundamentally good thing.

Journalism thus is not in crisis. It is in hypersleep, gradually being shaken out of its years of complacency. You could argue the revolution is all but over - bit late in the day to be talking about shake-ups, where have you been David?

But an email from a senior Apple exec and an exchange with that venerable net technologist Bill Thompson suggests we're still in a vortex, those winds will come back.

FT Time
I spent time with the Financial Times last year as they added new gears to their news cycle. What played in my mind then and resurfaced as a theme of conversation today was "own it".

The FT's muscularity in all things financial means turning on a web 2.o tap gives them greater options. When we set off to package the Bank of England's rate cut it was clear.

For now many of us turn to TV news for the visual pre and post analysis.

For now it's a broadcaster who's winning eye balls, but just as The Guardian Newspaper snatched an RTS from the jaws of broadcasters last year, it won't be long, I hedge before the FT will compete in video reportage with the broadcasters for electronic narratology.

On a more prosaic scale in universities and educational ecology's, a new generation has the wherewithal "to own it". Forge a voice, cut through the traditionalism to the contemporary, cut through the processing game and "own it".

Student voice - tale of two international journalism students

Two students standing over my shoulder as we were talking TV and Online, so I decided why not let them talk about what they've been up to and the experience of being here 1000s of miles away from home.
first up

I am from the far northeast part of India, - these are seven small states - which is always in news for the wrong and the most happening reason i.e Terrorism. But there is more to North east than militants. To start with there is Tea (the famous Assam tea), beautiful lakes, river and mountains. I went to Maharani Gayatri Devi School Girl's public school in Jaipur (Pink city) in Rajasthan (land of desert)

David says:
( is this your intro ??) She's saying I can't do this.. ~Not here. she say's everyone will be reading. She says I'm being mean. We're having an interactive moment here. She wants to change this now.. the intro. Chinaka the other student says she shouldn't. She says I did not give her much time and that she'll look foolish (long sigh)...... [ all a bit of harmless fun] :)

And I am from Nigeria...and South Africa...and word...African. After doing an undergraduate course specialising in Publication Design, the desire to incorporate deign, photography and Film in one became very apparent. I arrived and found there was so much more to Journalism...

Indeed, Chinaka. I was a journalist in India for three years but just a couple of months in the University of Westminster and it's like i have found the key to Pandora's box! The most enriching experience so far has been TV and radio. For more go here

I had no clue about film making but now i am out filming a current affairs piece with my colleagues. Phew! so far very taxing but i am enjoying every moment especially playing with the camera and practicing the 3:6:9 (David got these numbers in our brains so much that I dream of it at night).

I have vowed not to edit anything out, irrespective of what they say.. Yeah even insults!!
[they're all now musing loudly how they could have put one to me]

We have been continuously put under pressure and trust me, I worked in an actual newsroom in India but I never felt the pressure as much as I feel when I am working with David but that is the fun. David push you hard and you take it as a challenge and push yourself harder to show [ show him.. show him] YES you can do it.

I understand the divide between a print, tv and online journalist is narrowing down and the course that I am doing aims to churn the multimedia journalists, which is the need of the hour.

But if you really want to know about it ASK David! sometimes I wonder if times is moving fast or David's speed is faster than time. All in all, it's a privilege to get lessons from David and of course the rest of the faculty. The time, energy and ofcourse Money that i have invested in this course is after all worth it.
(I am not being nice to you David. I am just being truthful)


I told her not to be nice, to be frank about her aims.

Okay so I literally have like 2 seconds to briefly give an account of my experience so far here in London, studying at the University of Westminster.

I am doing an MA in International Journalism. I will not go into detail as to what the international in the name stands for, except perhaps the fact that there is not a single soul in my class of 40 from the UK. I

I remember the first time I arrived, during orientation, we have a lunch with the staff that would be teaching and guiding us for the next couple of months. I remember Gyimah asking me, “What do you want to get out of this course?”

One thing I have come to understand is that to be a journalist today, is to be a multiskilled journalist: I am currently, with a degree in Publication design, I am learning to make current affairs, TV news and features (pre prod, prod and post prod- final cut pro), radio news and features, Online journalism (learning the importance of blogging, creating websites with Flash, Dreamweaver, while incorporating design softwares such as Photoshop, Illustrator.

Due to the intensive nature of the course, you learn to understand the ways of the industry…well just a sneak preview but the hardest thing is ensure that I have not lost focus on what I want to get out of this whole experience.

It has been quite interesting to watch myself grasp information and do things that I did not think I could do. And also just being in London has given me a totally different perspective as a journalist.

A journalist can be an artist, and educator, story-teller, and I want to take this skill one day and contribute to the media industry in my country and continent as a whole.

I will continue my account in my blog...

David says I'll either trawl em back to talk more or ping you to their own blogs - if they have them running.. just joshing.. they say they want a right to reply. should I?

Friday, February 06, 2009

Downloading my brain

Sorry normal posts assume next week as right now I'm buried under 7000 word chapter for my thesis, plus a film to demonstrate the new realism of video journalism, which has taken me around the centuries 5th, 13th, 17th and 21st ending up on Henry Jenkin's convergence culture.

Preshoots for Masters coming along, with how to cheat at Current Affairs making.

Next week I'm in Berlin for a day, judging panelist meet the winners of the International VJ awards, and am looking to submit abstract for Journalism in Crisis.

Then there's a revalidation of a new course, not before a week of phd peer review supervision, then off to Miami for WeMedia.

Meanwhile publishers have touched base and so looking forward to that dialogue, But have to submit marks to grad office for 70 masters students.

Peron emailed me about coming to Brazil to lecture in video journalism. The energy to VJ anywhere in South America would be awesome. Just look at the talent of film makers emerging. We'll have to see though about that.

So back to the thesis, but I will be twittering. Circuit training 9.30 tomorrow. Bang goes my Saturday. If you're passing by the BBC feature from the 90s - one of the best BBC current affairs shows for young people is worth watching / reading.

They don't do it like that anymore.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

It's a financial Time

It's been a FT [fab time].

James Montgomery, who played a leading role in steering the FT.Com through its digital transition is to leave his managing editor's post for new pastures within the FT.

Personally I wish him the very very best of luck. You couldn't meet a more charming, pro manager.

I worked alongside James in training a number of FT journos in the VJ way and also managed to get a few of our student's work placements there.

You'll be hard pressed to find a group whose approach, courteousness, robust questioning and absorption in multimedia is a model for new journalism.

Ft article on Viewmagazine features video, which will be updated with controls shortly

The FT write up on happens to be one of the most pinged, which led me to rethink how I might present some added value on the page.

That now will come in the shape of a lot more unpublished video, pictures such as these and including their first ever VJ piece and how that package was made.

Photomontage within the FT and some

One of scenes features Rob Minta, head of multimedia querying the City of London Police's decision to ask him for his personal details and then issue him a notice for filming in the city.

Rob handles it well. Later that evening I asked the Press Association's lawyer Mike Dodd whether this was acceptable. He sought clarification from the City of London Press Office and replied, "No".

More recently I invited a team of police to talk to our masters students and this issue came up again. But more on that in another post

New posting name
In thinking of a name for a new post, I came up with: "We live in Financial Times" only to realise on googling it was already part of the FT's brand.

But what I did stumble upon, I so absolutely love.

I have seen this poster [above], but the Flash form is sublime art, design meets commerce. A minimalist futuristic metropolis, which on closer inspection appears to be pulling in xml data.

So for the new write up on the FT, It's a FT time will be the headline and based on the poster I'm spellbound by I'll create something Flash-based for the new micro site.

Journalism in Crisis

A conference organised by the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Westminster in association with the British Journalism Review

London, 19-20 May 2009

Keynote Speakers

Professor James Curran, Goldsmiths College
Professor Todd Gitlin, Columbia University

Call for papers

News journalism is in deep crisis. Newspaper readership is falling, the audience for television news shrinking, and young people in particular seem to be less interested in traditional forms of news consumption. 24-hour news channels on shoestring budgets fight over tiny audiences while even well established and committed news organisations like the BBC and New York Times are cutting budgets and laying off journalists.

Those that remain complain of increased workloads, lack of resources, insecurity of employment, greater dependence on news agencies and PR handouts, and lack of training opportunities. There are accusations that serious journalism, with in-depth coverage of important issues that can hold the powerful to account, has given way to a toxic mix of infotainment, sensationalism and trivia.

Some, particularly the young, see online as the way forward. Internet penetration is high in most developed countries and growing rapidly in the developing world. The web offers a multimedia environment for new developments like citizen journalism and blogging, different kinds of news reporting and new approaches to current affairs.

But it also threatens the business model of newspapers as classified advertising moves online, while television suffers from fragmented audiences and the growth of time-shifted viewing. Many question whether user-generated content can ever be a substitute for well-resourced newsgathering carried out within trusted institutions according to established professional values.

This conference will review the current threats to the practice of journalism and examine some of the developing alternatives.

Papers are invited that address any of these issues. We welcome contributions on:

  • The audiences for news
  • The development of new media outlets
  • Current practices in journalism
  • The impact on journalism of changing economics and ownership
  • New approaches to journalism, and
  • The future of journalism as a paid occupation.

Many of the problems identified are specific to the advanced countries. The organisers welcome papers that address the different situation in developing areas, like India, China and Africa, where audiences for traditional media continue to grow and where online news has quite different implications.

NB:Reproduced from the University of Westminster page

Stop Video Animation - Student Video Winner

A simple idea for our youtube times which has many varsities participating, but John Hopkins in Baltimore can claim to be in the premiere league.

Its student video competition last year saw Stop animation vid, made by Robert Huynh and Noel Sanjuan, take first prize.

Called: "It seemed like a good idea", this would have involved a good degree of work and hopefully the students involved not having to miss too many lectures :)

The judges? The Dean, Susan Boswell and Emmy Award Winner Richard Chisolm and CEO of EMI Roger Faxon and Marketing Director Chris Cullen.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Films not to see

Films not to see. Only because few networks and viewers are interested.

Today Deborah Davies and award winning network TV Journalist spoke in an intimate setting about her work and latest film to students.

The film was about Congo's children and he harrowing plight of a people stuck in a brutal conflict.

I'll post more on this soon. In the talk, she notes how she and her camera man were 2 mins from being burnt alive by locals.

Monday, February 02, 2009

End of the world !! - worst snow storm in 18 years

Snow out London - 18 years worst ever from david dunkley gyimah on Vimeo.

No way out - The Snow's got me.

It's the end of the world in London; school's closed, buses canceled, trains left in their depot, commuters standing idly around pondering their next move.

And as understandable frustration grew at getting nowhere, trying to talk to someone, somewhere proved equally futile - my mobile phone, and others received that r2d2 bleep, accompanied by "congestion".

I started the day 7.20 a.m wanting to sort out a membership issue with my gym. That took me away from the station in almost knee deep snow.

Matter solved, and no I could not have rang in for resolution, time to head to the local train station.

8.00 a.m and the roads were fairly bare. What signs cars did roam the roads was evident from the odd groove carved like fjords in which pedestrians competed over for firmer walking tracks.

"If you're heading for the train station, it's cancelled" said one elderly gentleman. Adversary has a way of bringing strangers together.

No Trains and no sign there will be any trains

But I had to take a look myself. It's not just the trains aren't running, the ticketing booths were closed and the sign hanging, as commuters cranked their necks, was unequivocal.

"Due to blah blah.." I stopped reading at "Due".

Making my way back home, an over excited pit bull made a beeline for me. Perhaps he had every reason, as his owner hauled him back.

With the amount of clothes I have padded on I look like Wookiee, Chewbacca, practising my ministry of silly walks.

A foot and half of snow brings London to a halt, if it weren't so serious you can only laugh.

Recently added: context for the snow piece

The Snow piece, for a bit of background, was made off-the-cuff on my Canon IXUS 70, attempting to make my way to work. You know off to the station and back again. It took about 15 minutes to edit and put up.

One of the new areas of videojournalism is called “free-framing” where you shoot as a participant with little set ups. The snow piece is an example. You have the film in mind ans so shoot the "edit line". Chess Players do it all the time where they often tell you they can see as many moves ahead. This is really no different.

A lot of people have done this in the past but come from indie docs e.g Chris Marker.

Michael Jackson Thriller infuence

Just got back seeing Michael Jackson's Thriller in Shaftesbury Avenue. The production featured a young Jackson to the present; theatre was full of adults all singing along to his collection.

The Opening scene featured a deafening promo cataloging Jackson's achievements.

Gave me this idea when I got back.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

VideoJournalism, Slum Dog Millionaire and some

Coming up later:

  • Deconstructing a videojournalism piece about Mumbai's slums sent to me, and how to ride the zeitgeist. You've seen the film Slumdog Millionaire, now here's a slice of life captured by a video journalist.

  • Could there be an emerging news net pathway for videojournalists, cycling stories?
  • One day before judging completes at the International Video Journalism Awards - and I have found my winner. Will be twittering live from the awards ceremony on Feb 11th in Berlin, so you can follow the event.
  • And Net neutrality, the possibility of paying an ISP for viewing content on the Net, draws a little closer with the governments Digital Britain czar saying he welcomes it.

Later on viewmag blog, and a review of some of the interesting bits in some of the broad sheets.