Saturday, August 29, 2009

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Videojournalism Timeline & What next?

David's timeline of Videojournalism from 1994-2009 features films he has made since that period or features about that time that give some indication of the change in Videojournalism. Here

The Videojournalism Timeline: in 1994 it was a revolution. I can't tell you how excited I was. A Beta camera, Vinten tripod, Senheiser mikes etc.

You'd find us in the middle of Oxford Street, the camera on its tripod reporting live back to the studio, having informed the Satellite truck of our location.

We did something that the industry sneered at. No one would hire you post 1994 if you said you were Channel One TV.

Birth of a station - Video Journalism revolution from david dunkley gyimah on Vimeo.

I left after two years, not because I'd fallen out with it, but wanted a bigger challenge. I went to WorldWide Television News. There I learned a different craft, but after a year knew that agency work wasn't for me.

Videojournalist David reports from Paris. Note the camera used.

But it taught me well. From the BBC in 1987 (TV and Radio), to South Africa ABC News and the BBC World Service, Channel One and now WTN, I may not have known it but I was picking up workflows, practical ways of doing things that you could only know from being in these organisations.

Because along that path you're likely to bump into /get taught by the most amazing producers and execs e.g. Tim Gardam editor of Newsnight), Joy Hatwood (multiple award wining producer, Radio 4) etc.

From 1994 I kept my videojournalism skills going. When I joined Channel 4 News, undoubtedly the best news/ current affairs programme in the UK, there's really nothing like it, I put my Vj skills to use.

Similarly, I travelled in and around Africa helping to set up networks. In 1998 I bought a ticket to fly to New York to buy my first powerbook.

How mad that seems, but it was cheaper there and I could now start to edit my own films. Jon Snow, the presenter of Channel 4 News was amazed, when he asked whether this laptop and software could replicate the quality of Network TV.

A new era
In 2000 I wrote an article that brought me to the attention of the BBC who had just outbidded Channel 4 News to bring in Michael Rosenblum - the father of videojournalism.

Rosenblum must surely have Had the last laugh. I attended their inaugural meeting in Birmingham and kept my contacts going, till in 2004 the idea was floated by the Press Association whether I could introduce a programme for print journalists.

In 2005 that programme was launched and the Hull Daily Mail became the UK's first regional journalists to successfully embrace videojournalism.

There have been many breakthroughs since. Not least the wonderful time I had in Beirut or presenting in Montenegro, talking at SXSW and teh World Newspaper Forum.

There has been in my eyes a massive shift in videojournalism. In part it's the curiosity of trying to better a process that for me is 15 years old.

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

In a lengthy conversation with a publisher I mentioned some of those which I have written, now buried in the indexes of this blog. We're now in the throes of writing that book, in tandem with new research from my own PhD programme.

I think it would be fare to say I love video and journalism and when the two collide, there is a new stellar arrangement which mutate and asks news questions.

The art of videojournalism is now absolutely nothing to do with multiskilling, in the same way Alice Guy-Blache, an ex secretary directed, did visual effects, painted back scenes for her own films. And this was in 1896.

The semiotics of videojurnalism is reflexive auterism for a medium long found to be wanting when it comes to change. Crassly put it is "total media" for it calls upon the the use of a multiplicity of media skills.

Videojournalism -Let go
Some are less obvious. Take radio for instance. As a medium it fires the imagination like no other. In videojournalism, learning how to use the microphone and acquire good sound is one thing, knowing how to write for radio and TV and understating the nuances of the two and voice is another.

It took me many years and many visits to the now defunct BBC Training Unit to understand.

The point we're at now is an interesting one. We've not yet reached critical for a paradigm within this art form to take place, but the debates we're having, the events we're attending where we talk and swap notes is the effect of the Phoenix from the Ashes.

Ashes because others that have come before us have made what's possible now. But are we really pushing as hard as we should?

Next year in conjunction with my work as an artists in residence at the South Bank I am looking to pull together a number of events that contribute to the work others before me have laid. I hope you can be involved.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Videojournalism for videojournalism educators, videojournalist aficionados- from British newspapers

8 Days

If you're a videojournalism educator, video journalist aficionado, then this might interest you.

I have uploaded 8 Days - UK's first videojournalists from regional British newspapers. - the story.

In many ways it's an on-the-day documentation of how after 8 days videojournalism work, 9 newspaper journalists took to videojournalism.

Five hours condensed into 15 minutes from a 40 minute tape shot over the whole period. The story was laid down 2 hours after returning to base. I'm using "collision" techniques to tell the story and "video impressionism"
I have always been interested in stories of ethnographic value e.g. The Successor Generation: South Africa's first generation of voters -made for the BBC and later ITN's Channel 4 News, Nato War Games - training journalists in simulated wars [ please note at the time of making this Flash did not have controls, so you had to use swf files. I'll repost with controls soon]- and more recently Beirut Videojournalists.

I'm pleased to say there's a story that I've been invited to look at which involves young offenders and dance. Many years back I spent a weekend filming in London's notorious Wormwood scrubs prison, reporting on catergory a prisoner - those inside for muder, so this project brings back a social responsibility

So here it is for the first time. Things to remember

  • This was the first time the newspaper journalists were doing this, in a programme I wrote and delivered for the Press Association.
  • In 8 days, they learmed more than enough of the basics to understand construct and voice driven reports. They would later go on to win several awards themselves and an international one this end.
  • Videojournalism since first practicing it in 1994 has moved on, and since 2005 has shifted into free fliming and framing.

VideoJournailsm Today
Today I'm interested in the psychology and kinesethic underpinning what I call Integrated multimedia videojournalilsm - which is the basis of my PhD and a book by a US publisher next year.

And also next year bringing some clever people together we'll be looking to hold an event which looks at what I call Concatenation. A good example would be the Maclaren Buggy wheels and the mechanism of the boeing 747, so if you're a videojournalist or educator please drop me a line. I have been meeting with a fair few tech, think tanks and broadcaster and it's been very positive.

I'll keep you posted on this.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Video Journalism and creativity into the thick of it

I've had two days to regroup - given me time to work on my site, and redux an old film, but with contemporaneous value: an interview cum feature with James Woolsey, former director of the CIA.

This short lull belies a mammoth week and period ahead. Energy bottles at the ready.

Next week is a an intense marking regime for our Masters students in the art of IMVJ Integrated Multimedia videojournalism: 13 essays and online projects. One the face of it good work, but the critique should provide them with valued insights to where they might push.

Later that week attention returns to research. More forms and chapters to write. It is, if anything relentless, and I'm currently reading through Lacan and Deleuze.

As we gear up for the start of the term, time to revisit modules and ensure updates.

With that done, attention must also turn to the residency. One of the many multiple projects I'm interested in is a dance project which works with young offenders and then there's portraits, which has since yield some interest from a museum in Italy.

What's really getting me excited though is the story of futurecasting media in the UK. Effectively my perspective, but acknowledging the tennants of researched journalism. What the industry calls an authored story, and so far I have a number of senior industry figures on tape, and am interviewing more next week.

Not too long in the future I'll be in South Africa with the Knight Foundation and Rick Beckman. So that's it and as a result I'm going to cool my online work of blogs - just till I get a sense of balance again.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Afghan Election news Blackout

Reporting and producing about violence in South Africa 1994. Contextual reportage is called upon.

The Afghan incumbent apparatchik would rather foreign networks did not report on violence at the polls. They have a point. Now before I accuse my alter ego of naive stupidity, it goes something like this.

They want people to vote, so want to black out the violence . It could scare voters away.

Agencies and News orgs say the public has the right to know. The accommodation is somewhere in the middle. Reporting what's happening in the polls but in a sensible way.

Take this as an example. If I put together a report on who likes Chilli Peppers in my family chances are I'll find a lot of people. However the default position of my vox pop must give weight to a different opinion, so the minute I find someone who doesn't like Chillis, like me, et voila, I'm on screen. This creates an erroneous impression.

In other words if you're reporting on atrocities, report on all the others, at least with the use of graphics to inform viewers whether the violence is endemic or localised.

David videojournalism reporting from Ghana on Ecomog Forces being trained by US Special Forces prepping the West Africa forces before they see action.

The killing of anyone is to be condemned.

Is there a way though, if, or when these atrocities do occur, media networks find a way to contextualise what's happening geographically et al. That as much is a needed addition to the timeline of reportage.

There still exist a wide schism in the world to the role of media and even then in UK media sometimes unusual things can happen, such as the news blackout on Prince Harry fighting in Afghanistan.

I always recall stepping into the cauldron of South Africa reportage before the official end of apartheid and to my amazement realising a lot of the violence being reported was localised.

As a news producer I could with a degree of certainty look for it, whilst other citizens blithely went about their day lives unaware of what was going on.

I guess with the Net et all, graphic interface news could do a good job at referencing THE NEWS in a more 21st century way.

And the next twitterish thing is DIY

How long has Twitter's growth to continue before it plateaus?

The good people of Adland had a trick or two when it came to ensuing continued growth of the brand. Keep the info tight and no matter whether you're in the office or shopping for flip flops in Borneo, you're still on company time.

Similarly, as my friendly Ghanaians would say: "Don't mind the body, but mind the engine" reduxed in the West into the swan syndrome: Ignore the the swan's feet, just watch the elegance on top.

In both cases twitter's being wholesome. Gosh, I think, wouldn't it be great to a bit twatish like Robbie Williams declaring to his fans: "I'm rich beyond my wildest dreams".

No chance. Notwithstanding this piece from The Economist (Twittering all the way to the bank) which reports a leaked memo, twitter appears on its way to the bank, as is the engineer behind twitter decks.

However I can't help thinking its CEO Evan Williams (EV) 's first broadcast to BBC Newsnight only a couple of weeks ago had a banana skin. By dint of talking to Newsnight, it made for an interesting interview.

But when EV responded to the interviewer Kirsty Wark's question about Twitter being a fad, EVs reply that: 'Twitter will only be a fad if someone comes along and does it better', had me visualising PRs working the phone to clarify what he meant.

Shape Shifting
Not that he said anything wrong. No it was an honest straight forward answer.

Except when you're on the end of a news interview, stay honest, but don't do straight forward reciprocating the question.

EV could have simply said. I don't believe, so, which is stronger than I think so.

But by engaging the question opens up to an unconscious subtlety on the one hand and a good headline down the road on the other.

Detectives and lawyers call it shaping.

Lawyer: Did you go down that street in order to call that man a name?
Defendant: I would only go down that street to call that man a name if I wasn't doing anything.
Lawyer: So you admit then if you weren't doing anything you would have gone down that street.

Despite the hypothetical nature of the last question, it sows the possibility to the jury/audience that the man could have called him a name.

One thing is certain about the next thing after twitter:
It will have been devised by a person/friends to assist their quality of life.
It will initially be rubbished by everyone else.
It's most likely going to come from the US
It will make its jump into the ecosystem
It will be a bridging tool - more networks

And it too will be asked whether it's a fad

Defense Lawyer shouts objection, that's hypothetical, but the subtlety of the point is made.

I'm sure Peter Barron, former editor of Newsnight who's now communications chief for Google in Europe, will have made this point to his staff.

The morale never answer a question with the original question, despite what your interviewer is inclined to tell you.

p.s Here's an interview I conducted with
Yahoo's VP for Product Strategy, Bradley Horowitz

Pure Genius - Viral Videos, Masakali, Bollywood

Pure Genius - the art of disruptive, but brilliant renditions.

For a couple of years I worked as a creative director ( for an ex-Saatchi and Saatchi head of the big gun days, Jon Staton, now at Jon Staton Productions.

He recounted how "the World's favourite airline - British Airways" tag and track came about.

They used three different tracks before opting for the choral one.

Yesterday a post I responded to on Advertising age about viral videos attracted this brilliant submission from Sunil Shibad from Mumbai, India.

Pure Genius, it utterly disrupts our fixed semiotic and transforms it to this. Wonder what would have happened if British Airways opted for the 'ethnic' theme. It was the 80s after all when ethnic music wasn't exactly in vogue. Enjoi. Thanks Sunil

Generation Videojournalists 现今的录像新闻是一种最先进的电视新闻产品

I was due to travel to Peking so a former student provided a translation. Thanks Yixiang . Yixiang's blog is here.

You'd not believe that as a Chinese national, two years ago she was hard pushed speaking English and now writes crisp copy. Fab!


It is next generation television: story telling in which you are not be bound by the many constraints of traditional news production

录像新闻是下一个时代的电视新闻:它的新闻制作不受到传统新闻制作模式的限制 - 英国录像新闻记者领头人和录像新闻制作指导,多个国际新闻大奖获得者, viewmagazine网站制作者 David Dunkley Gyimah 说。

David是英国媒体领域的杰出人士,在其22年的职业生涯中,他曾先后在英国电视广播公司, ITN4频道新闻,ABC新闻和一频道工作,其中一频道是英国首个录像新闻电视台。

David 运用自己被广泛公认的教学模式已经训练了全球上千余记者,这些记者大多来自于:英国金融时报,芝加哥太阳报,和英国媒体协会。其中在英国媒体协会,他协助并且创办了录像新闻节目。

David 是英国享有盛誉的皇家电视协会2009年评判委员会成员,他曾先后为世界报纸联盟,苹果股份有限公司,以及其它一些权威机构开设(关于录像新闻的)讲座。

政治新闻编辑Andrew Brown 先生,英国布朗首相的弟弟,和另外一位英国著名电视主播 Jon Snow都曾评论到David的作品极其具有独创性。

目前他正致力于奥巴马总统“100日”的录像制作 -- 为配合英国一位才华横溢的作曲家的原始古典创作的录像作品。

You can find out how to hire David as a consultant or trainer your online, multimedia and Video journalism projects by visiting his site here (ENTER).The site is in English.

如果您希望与David合作,邀请他担任您的顾问以及指导贵媒体的网络,多媒体, 以及录像新闻,您可以通过登陆他的网站: 查询到他的联系方式。网站语言为英文。

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The artist in Me

So what do I do on my time off. Doh

thanks to all supporters who have been pushing further to get the site together in a fashion that allows a more integrated experience. It's now about to be curated. I was trying to find my interview with Mandela, after I shook his hand and then I remembered numpty you ran out of tape and film. Drrrddaddadda!!@!£

Inside BBC Multimedia Newsroom Mary Hockaday

The interview I did with Mary Hockaday has been restored. Mary is the head of BBC Multimedia News and in this cut she's showing me around the BBC Newsroom. I'll get the actual actual link, but you can find it off the bat from

A bit of unobtrusive interviewing :)

And the robocop new media debate oldpost

New media demands more than ‘robo-journalists’ is an oldish post from Nicole, revived via tweets. C'mon.... I'm assuming she is a student at City based on her "my lecturer" tag.

It's a fine post, which pulls up that ol chestnut of online vs new media and do it yourself.

There is no holy grail answer for these, but a series of ideas and probables. There are though some constants. In 12 hours it will be nightime, then day. And as one of my mates and a star CNBC market analyser tells me, there's another big wopper in the works.

Frankly I'd settle for the fact that at 100mb streaming as the norm, I'll be watching the news in my glass of milk as I drink it the same time.

I'm a bit bullish, not like me, with my response, but you have to remember I have emerged from 14 days of research. I feel like talking : ) Read Nicole's posts and here's my response below

The trouble with market corrections - an unexpected event wreaking havoc which eventually is steered back - is there are casualties. A lot of equity is lost, some written off altogether.

In effect, albeit not in the classic case, this is another market correction and they'll be another one, and another.

From 1994, satellite, then cable, then the Net, news has had to buffet a series of disruptions. And if you trend extrapolate with more robust tech networks in the offing, we're only at the tip of this flux.

News orgs might just have to transform themselves, not only as daily providers, but with in-house (on campus preferably) teams working in tandem and tighter with academia/techs addressing in many ways what are driven - phenomenologies impacting news.

Ok that's not what News does, yes! But these are changing times, and it:

1. affords a (likely) integral stream of students into this metamorphosing industry.
2. affords (not always) a potential canary effect of the latest disruptive events.
3. allows for a genuine rolling debate between groups about changing semiotics to be addressed.

Slightly to the side of this argument what Miami University and the Knight Foundation are doing is very impressive. It's worth looking into.

Cheers david
Snr Lecturer, University of Westminter
Artist in Residence, South Bank Centre

Why Do U.K. Videos Always Seem to Go Viral? response

Advertising Age asks the question referencing this brill, quirk viral.

More on the article here. Here's my response below.

@kcorrick thanks for tweet.

Great pts from previous posters, but there's something else in the UK. You've seen it in BYAs (Young Brit Artists e.g. Hirst), Grime/rare grooves(8os), and starting out film/commercial makers such as Cunnigham and Glazer (Guinness Ad voted best ever by Brits); that is an undercurrent, indie-come-good, might even say subversive movement that bangs against tradition.

And viral ad making was everything anti to the methodology of classic ads until relatively recently. The Viral Factory - a major proponent to Brits viral movement was not too long ago wrestling the status quo, now I doubt many Brit viralists will not pay some form of homage.

In 1999 I was working as a creative director for an interactive ad company in Soho (London) and most of ad companies thumbed their nose to this new thing called "viral" It was cheap and followed no apt discourse. I recall one of the founders of The Viral Factory explaining their plans to us. Our mouths dropped, but that a wasn't universal reaction.

This creative (DIY) disruption is something the UK is particularly good at. Their indie TV scene is equally something to admire, which has govts attempting to find ways of helping out to relatively little success.

Your title could also have read: Why Does the U.K. Music Scene Always Seem to Go Viral? Semantically incorrect, but no less worthy. I conducted interviews with greats like Clinton, Fela Kut and Roy Ayers who marvelled at what creatives here could do with their sound.

Personally, I'd say there's a bloody mindedness, coupled with that old Brit jape, but yes as many that get made and seen, there are dead virals strewn across the innards of broadband pipes that we'll never get to make you happy, happy, happy, joy, joy, joy.

David Dunkley Gyimah
Artist in Residence, South Bank
Clinton, Fela Kuti and Roy Ayers who marvelled at

Hitting the creative and videojournalism wall and emerging stronger

A different sort of hitting the creative and videojournalism wall, David's private studio deconstructed.
David's private studio and thinking space (1)

I can't deny it.

It cannot be hidden.

I hit the wall. Hard.

It was a combination of things, some not quite resolved, but in many ways it was almost neccessary, albeit I could do without it more than once in a year.

Tapes on right side of shelf ( beta) D2 and
Panasonic pro ( see below for tapes I'm yet to digitise)

See film on The Mayfair, London's beautiful people

Those things were:

Rewriting submission chapters towards my research thesis.

If I can come close to making sense of the research, it might annoy you. I WILL be persona non grata.

Equally though if you're working in this space of video and design, it should open up a glimpse into some of the whys in a phenomenological way.

The sum of all those parts, shaping the argument, has meant 19 hour days for the last 10 days.

But the SMARTlab Dean of Research Programmes invited me out for a supervisory catch up over supper and in many ways acknowledged this manic streak had not bypassed their radar.

Long Sigh
A small weight has lifted, not a lot, but the knot in my shoulder should dissipate and hopefully they'll be no more incidents where blood vessels in my eye pop. Yes it did.

Academia presses quite different buttons compared to what we know as practitioners. And the fact I have been a senior lecturer for almost a decade counts for very little.


  • Artist in Residency
  • Crisis Management
  • New Videojournalism films e.g Beirut Videojournalism see Pt 2. on Youtube.

  • Student Markings
  • South Africa Knight Batten
  • Book deal
Images from my broadcast past working for the BBC, ITN and ABC News and a shoot with Moby in Washington, and an invitation to a creative meeting from the Olympic 2012 bid

These are some of the other things that have been happening alongside my Robert Frost moments ie The Road Less Travelled.

The Artist in Residency (AIRS) is quite frankly the most extraordinary thing to happen and I'll soon refocus new posts on this.

The South Bank Centre has been the home of some of the most illustrious and creative AIRS e.g Royal Philharmonic, Award winning dancer Raphael Bonachela, Poet Lemm Sissay, so it's not to be taken lightly (as if I would) , rather to be looked upon in awe before driving into its principles.

For you see the AIRS programme is all about developing the artist, taking you to a place where you wouldn't go and then watching how you return-that-to- senders: the principle of pay it back.

Free from the constraints of what can be done, what should be done disregarding fixed semiotics, and whether it should be done (which has never put me off) the South Bank asks you to imagine. BIG.

Ideas on deep video linking have been featured in The Economist

Videojournalism Show and Tell

So in September I have my "Show and Tell", a sort of in house TED talk to the South Bank, and at the back of my mind I'm aware they are not impressed easily. Time to raise the bar again?

Videejournalism in Beirut is receding fast. That does not diminish its importance.

What's happening in Beirut with videojournalism is where I'd like to take the form universally and I wager, even though it was the briefest of visits, that the videojournalists, real smart beings, will be trailing a blaze on an international scale in some months.

A lecture to a Chinese contingent in visualisation, and a media management crisis lecture and prepping for a trip to South Africa with some of the US' esteem practitioners in the media and academia looms.

But that's enough for now, I must turn my attention to marking our Master students projects. I'll post their links to their work tomorrow.

Passes from covering Lennox Lewis heavyweight fight in Memphis - a truly awesome experience working for the Lennox Team. You needed at least five passes to move from Ringside to the after party

It is, I hope you agree, pretty good work and as their blog and exit interviews demonstrate, it's less what's on the surface but their informed thinking that's truly beautiful and I know they hit the wall a couple of times as well.


More images

Beta tapes I'm yet to digitise. Each tape holds up to five stories. There's a stack of dv tapes which I can't even think about

Made on a Mac - talking at Apple Stores. Looking forward to enveiling new research and going back, if they'll have me, next year

Knight Batten Award for Innovation in Journalism, which only recently has come out of its box. I'm so indebted to Knight Batten for this award

And here thanks to Sabine Streich, who organised the international Videojournalism Awards in Berlin. She rang me up and said you've won and I told her to £@%^& off believing a friend was making a prank call. We still laugh
about it.

Tickets for much sought after friendly England vs France Rugby. My cousin, Paul Sackey, whom I have only met once, plays for England and I wanted to see him close up. I'm still thinking I should get in contact with him and say "Hi Paul fancy me making a film on you"

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Photojournalism -personal stories in the 90s from conflict South Africa

At dinner last night, my two companions chastised me over and my work.

They had my interests at heart, wanting to know why I rotated so heavily features on my site.

Reflexively the excuse is there's been a transition point has passed which requires a re-alignment of its properties.

It started off as a magazine showcasing a project here and something there, but now is a gallery requiring a curatorial hand, essentially sign posting a-plenty to turn the light onto those shadows.

Which means all media go and more achive which is why I can now with my artist alter ego begin to unveil more from the past.

Why because it informs our future and we are poorer for not knowing and understanding those things that have moulded how we live, how we might think, how society has evolved.

Take between 1992-1994, South Africa winding up Apartheid - legalised racism - with the prospect many thought of a civil war. I was working as a freelance reporter to several outlet often reporting from the townships which were powder kegs for blood baths between the ANC and Inkatha and anyone who dare get in their way.

It was an era which took the lives of many journalists and photojournalists and possible seconds away from a good friend who had a gun cocked to his head with the hammer ready come come down.

The Banging Photographers
Yesterday I scanned across my home library and pulled out The Life and Photography of Ken Oosterbroek.

Oosterbroek, a brilliant award winning photographer was killed covering the townships nine days before South Africa's much awaited first all-race elections.

Like so many journalists et al in South Africa at the time Oosterbroek's photography cut to the quick - just magnificent. I had friends at the Star where he worked, I never met him though, but his other colleague Kevin Carter I knew very well by proxy.

Flicking through the book so many memories came flooding back. The last few frames of the book are haunting as Oosterbroek's friends capture his death, the bullet that ended his life.

I didn't know of James Natchwey's work then, but looking at the print again is the figure of a young erudite rock-star looking Natchwey - one of the members of the famous bang bang club.

In South Africa the bang bang club and other photographers were the eyes of the world.

Kevin Carter
Carter came to my attention via Lindsay my landlady who was the editor of a highly successful magazine called Living and commissioned Kevin on many occasions. Like most commissioning editors she also had a good ear.

In the evenings after dinner the phone would go and she'd disappear for hours. When she arrived she would recount, looking sullen. the state of Carter. I'd listen transfixed.

Carter had shot a picture of which would bring him the ultimate in photographer a Pulitzer. It featured an emaciated young black girl being stalked by a vulture.

Lindsay relayed how Carter came to take the pic. He had the girl in sight, then noticed a haze across the lens, when he pulled back he could see a vulture which would shuffle up to the little girl when she fell. waiting for her last breath.

Carter shooed the vulture away, but as Lindsay told me, he could not be sure when he left, not being able to help the girl, that the scavenger bird would not return. It haunted him. The stream of enquiries from readers compounded it. The prize was too much to bear.

On 27 July 1994, Carter took his own life by running a pipe from his exhaust into his car. He was 33 years old.

For the two years when I returned from South Africa to become a videojournalist, that picture sat flush on my desk.

Yesterday I reached for a file I had digitised a while back, South Africa circa 1992 and a series of flashes and thoughts simply tumbled out.

My appreciation for the work I do, and it is something to be appreciated dearly stems from seeing the likes of the works of the Oosterbroek and Carter and in case you've little context to give you an idea of South Africa here's one of many, many radio reports I made .

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Indefatigable Micheal Rosenblum and the videojournalists

Moseyed down, quite fortuitously to Michael's site. Mike needs little introduction in the field.

When I worked in tele as a reporter/ presenter I had an agent and was featured in the UK's presentation bible. I was always tickled by the entry of Sir David Frost and if I remember John Humphries.

Everyone else had a mug picture and litany of past conquests, on Sir David's page all you saw was a blank sheet with Sir David Frost in black typeset at the bottom.

In many ways that's Micheal.

Jude Kelly the Artistic Director of the South Bank gave a talk recently in which she mentioned how people like pushing others of pedestals. "Who wouldn't want to push people off big pedestals", she noted.

She was drawing from her own career. The Dean of studies and one of my supervisors, Prof. Liz Goodman, added something else to this mix, that those of you planning PhDs or new ideas will upset a lot of people because they are new ideas.

Scholars make a habit of it and quid pro quo have to find intellectual critiques called literature reviews, so whether you're saying the bleedin obvious: "rain consists of water", expect to be critiqued for any number of reasons.

Rosenblum gets some people upset. When he says burn the newsroom down and rebuild it, there are no prisoners and pushing that analogy, the prison guards take a swipe.

You learn as a professional to take it on the chin. As Omar says in The Wire, "It's part of the game y'all".

One day I'll show you the email from the student who will remain anonymous who said to me ....You are no one, you *****er. I'll get my dad onto you. How dare you fail me. you don't even have the right skills to teach me....

He went to one of the UK's most respected universities - a point he made. C.f Cleese sketch above.

He used copyright pictures from a well known uncompromising photo agency. I had previously warned against it.

On the chin
Where was I. Oh yes. On Rosenblum's site

$ wrote the ff:

$ says:

David Dunkley Gyimah

Yet another VJ grad that finds the only way he can make a living, if that, is by opening up his own school.

Not a surprise.


I have never met $ and if he looked up the name he might have written differently. On the other hand he might not have. I tried to reply on Rosenblum's site, but somehow it's not posting, so this was my response at the bottom of this post.

Such responses , if one replies in kind, make for good copy, but serves no purpose at least for me. Channel the time and energy elsewhere I say and yes it's such a small matter (you know whatever!!). But over the years there's no denying that a number of practitioners ( I don't know anything about $ to include) are reticent, irritated, annoyed at videojournalism and its practitioners.

One major reason I have come across is because videojournalists are considered Johnny-come-latelies. Upstarts who have no idea of the profession of broadcasting or news and it's plain wrong that they should be elevated to the standard of professionals.

Marcel Theroux, an old mate and colleague of mine from way back in Channel One 15 years ago, is certainly not in that league. He's mentioned in Mike's post - another videojournalist. But he has network and international network experience behind him.

His documentary he presented on Art fakes in Russia for Channel 4 was superb. Marcel's professionalism is on par with his brother, Louis Theroux on BBC1.

I hope I might add as well with some immodesty that I haven't just fallen into videojournalism.

And what if you or I had just graduated or just discovered videojournalism and are now teaching, and I have many friends who fall into that category, frankly good for you/us.

Your own probity, efficacy, and delivery should be at the forefront of your mind. If you're no good, you'll get found out.

Charlie Beckett, an expert in this field of new evolving media summed it up on BBC Radio 4's Today programme talking about the Net and Murdoch's plans to sell news online. His reply was equally valid for videojournalism as it is the Internet, when he said you cannot undue the net, you can't put it back. It's not only here, it'll get more disruptive.

Any news manager knows that much now. I recall in 1996 news managers having a right old giggle at the idea the Net would ever threaten the news.

So, anyways, er, Michael where are you now?

My response to $

$ Actually I don't have a school but it's not a bad idea. I started at the Beep in 1987 going on to the likes of BBC Newsnight, and ABC News/BBC R4 in South Africa before in 94 like Marcel did Rosenblum's first training in the UK and started training myself in 1995 .

Did way more broadcasting/ new media before in 2002 became a senior lecturer (still here :) ) at the University of Westminster ( and more recently artist in residence at the South Bank) where I developed a module and lecture in called IMVJ -which involves css/html/xml site building story telling combined with design/SEO writing, site architecture and behaviour, Flash and Director with short , feature length and long format free framing videojournalism - in which I made a few stories for Channel 4 News based on my foreign affairs background as a member of Chatham House. I channel those into making features, as well as training like this one from Beirut etc.

You'll find a good example of IMVJ being my site and soon I'll post the current installment from my International Masters students (I'm currently marking) which is just superb work. But yes, opening a school would be a grand idea.

I'm looking to curate an exhibition of videojournalists at the South Bank next year with the different factions of videojournalism I have come across on my travels, so if you have anything do let me know?

viewmagazine twitter

Innovation & Videojournalism - Africa and UK

I'm about to post details in a min about a project by the Knight Media which is just terrific and then talk about a project I'm talking to the South Bank about which focuses on art, storytelling and innovation, so do come back. Just a bit tied down at the moment. :)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Videojournalists who are they, what's their background?

Some people can be quite sniffy about videojournalism so I thought I'd drop in my background to give you an idea of how I got into it as a practitioner and trainer. If you like to contact me for a chat training etc you can here

David Dunkley Gyimah

2010 - publishing book deal
2009- Artist on Residence South Bank, PhD Candiate SMARTlab
Senior Lecturer, Digital Journalism University of Westminster devised online module - IMVJ Integrated multimedia videojournalism which involves css/html/xml dreamweaver site building story telling combined with design/SEO writing, site architecture and behaviour, Flash, AE, Photoshop and Director with short , feature length and long format free framing videojournalism - in which I made a few stories for Channel 4 News based on my foreign affairs background as a member of Chatham House. I channel those into making features, as well as training like this one from Beirut etc.

You'll find a good example of IMVJ being my site and soon I'll post the current installment from my International Masters students (I'm currently marking) which is just superb work.

- other work at Uni. launch team ( Editor in the field) NATO War Games conflict training programme

-Co designed interactive news training programme, further developed by colleague, sold onto BBC Journalism College.

-co developed with Press Association their first videojournalism programme

- Developed news futures. Multidiscipline project with students presenting to the BBC about the future.

-consulted with The Financial Times training on the videojournalism programme

Juror member: International Videojournalism Awards (Berlin); Royal Television Society for innovation in Broadcast (London)

Sample of talks/training given: Press Association/Telegraph Newspapers; Chicago SunTimes (Training); SXSW (Austin Texas); Miami WeMedia; Flash on the Beach (Brighton); Apple stores (Regent Street), Journalism conference (Norway) World Association of Newspapers (Sweden); Annual Media conference (Egypt), Consulting ( Beirut) Online News Association (New York) Batten Awards ( Washington Press Club) MWASA/ SAUJ (South Africa). More here Press and Comments

Up to early 2000s Independent Producer and Videojournalist working with a number of outfits:Creative Director for Ex-Saatchi breakaway agency headed up by its former
head of TV, Jon Staton ( developed XTP movement for TV stations on London underground.
PRODUCTIONS: using camera/editing/and or reporting
° Riz Khan Production - working with Riz Khan ( CNN) on BBC WS Production, The Hajj Pigrimage, edited and posted using digital laptop technology
° Intelligence and the New World Order, ICA. with Jon Snow.
° Videojournalist for Lennox Lewis with his World title with Tyson in Memphis.
° Corporate promo video producer for Washington-Based UN Lobbyist,
broadcast on CNN International, and Nobel Peace Prize recipients, MSF

(UK General Election) Political Producer – Power House (Channel 4’s Political Show) Producing programmes which audited key policies of the main
parties using accountants BDO Stoy Hayward e.g. Pensions, Tax, Crime. Online reference from Editor, Andrew Brown (brother of Prime Minister)
Freelance Producer - Channel 4 News/ITN, BBC Breakfast News
Produced long/short format news items for broadcast. Made South African election film “The Second Generation”, from Johannesburg looking
at the country’s new social community of urban professionals.

Senior Producer - Global Media Alliance (US media agency managed by Turner International’s head of Africa region) specialising in international programmes. Examples of work include producing and directing expedition film on British/Turkish return to Gallipoli – TX: OUTLOOK, BBC WS.
Consultant and Producer/ Director - first international African states co-production (see online for cuttings)

Mid 90s Television Producer - World Wide Television News, (WTN) Camden
° Producing news and feature stories for global clients.

Videojournalist - Channel One TV (Associated Newspapers) Produced 500 stories per year
° Multi-skilled TV Station where producers/VJs shot on Betacams, edited on AVID and voiced their own reports. MD was Nick Pollard (Sky News)

Early 90s Freelance Radio/TV Correspondent and Producer in South Africa
e.g. of work, director/producer Through the Eyes of a Child - experiences
South Africa’s young before the election.
° Presenter, researcher BBC Radio 4 documentary, First Time Voters – 4 young South Africans vote in their first election. Associate Producer
for ABC News Journalism training with MWASA and the IFJ: Training the Trainer –
programme to teach senior media managers about learning outcomes

Early 90s BBC TV & Radio and Training
° AP/ Reporter – BBC Reportage, BBC 2 Television
° Presenter/Producer - BBC GLR Magazine programme/ BBC Radio 5
° Researcher – BBC Newsnight

1987-89 ° BBC Radio Leicester Freelance Reporter.

Digital broadcast technology at The London Institute.
Distinction Modules in International Relations at the LSE International School
(1) Politics of Global Finance (2) Emerging Economies
Post grad Journalism/ TV production - Falmouth School of Art & Design

BSc Applied Chemistry, Demontford University
Alevels: Chemistry, Physics and Biology (9 O levels)
Spent 8 years in Ghana. Speak the local languages

Membership Director, Broadcast Journalism Training Council
Member of the Royal Institute of International Affairs since 1994.

2009 Wemedia (Miami) for multimedia, 2006 International VJ Awards/Wemedia (American Press Institite) Fellowship, 2005 US Batten Awards for Innovation in Journalism, First Place, 2001 Interactive current affairs Co- Finalist 2001, C4 Digital Awards Unleash the Talent Inside.

Press/Publications David’s work has been featured in a number of publications: Economist
BLUE PRINT – Digital technology and Film Making
THE PRODUCERS – New World Order in Digi Film making
ICA – New aesthetics in digi film making,
CREATION MAGAZINE – War Cameramen and Videojournalism…working in the West Bank
TRANSITIONS – Hollywood digital filmmakers manual on digital editing
BBC ARIEL (BBC in-house magazine) – Dispatches in South Africa. Also, THE TIMES/SOUTH AFRICA TIMES….

Work Flow - by Mike Jones. Be late for work!

Mike Jones is a genius.

If you haven't book marked his site. If you haven't been late for a meeting or misappropriated your time because you were too busy reading / watching his multifarious offerings, then you need to.. Oh you need to badly. This is from 2008, but you'd post it in 2020 and it's a good leg up into understanding work flow.

Publish Post

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Killing the news to save it

You know the feeling, you look at the mac (ok PC) and think, Nah! You read another blog and you think recycled. And the website seizes to hold the allure it once paraded when you could proudly proclaim to friends and family over fried chicken.

"Guys I have something to tell you. I have a website".

"You have a website" Damn! Cyber births to match the real thing.

Admittedly that was 1997.

I get that bluesy feeling every year, just about.. NOW! If I had the wherewithal, I'd check myself into the Praire - psychiatric solutions for the rich and famous.

So instead I have chewed a few pen tops.

Time magazine, my Saturday read that still comes in this external corpus form - more a thid than thud on the post mat gave me food to take my mind of such petty matters.

Killing the News to save it Ann Arbor is the first big town to lose its daily paper - now it's a laboratory for new media- page 35.

Whilst James Poniewozik comments What price journalism? News, ( damnit, my words) isn't free.

Much of today's current journalism debates are unavoidably tribal- the big conglomerates losing ad monies and feeling the whack of the net and its pesky users who want something free, so clever marketers are doing everything they've never done to win eyeballs and sell their ware, except paying market rates for space.

Et Voila! reports Time is a model everyone is hoping to dear journalism fairy godmother succeeds. A once local newspaper killed off replaced by the vision of media utopia - a website only.

If it cuts to the quick it's because the framing of the piece entails local democracy, local newspapers, and heavens knows that in the absence of a correctional body, those municipal councils that run our affairs, would, well, rundown our affairs.

The problem is just as acute in the shires of the UK, where grey suits will (when?) slice away the BBC's money to get local media back on the ground.

The somebody will have to pay by Poniewozik posits the brief passing of the nuclear question. Is it possible nothing will save journalism?

Which raises an obvious question what are students being taught at Uni regarding journalism. Tom Kennedy, ex head of video at Washington Post twitted about " stop turning over students into journalism factories".

There's no consensus, debates yes! about what's to be done. In 2005 Prof Leonard Witts was one of the first to read the tea leaves in the post Youtube era staging a conference in San Antonio asking can you trust the media?

I guess we do, except these are the worst of times and best of times to (aw shucks!)

It's for this very reason that I was staying away from the Mac, now I have gone all commentary again..... ( David abandoned this post to art direct his workstation for a photoshoot this week, showing his IMVJ approach)

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Making a videojournalism story

Making a videojournalism story.

If videojournalism can do anything, which involves readdressing our notions of what we think, and what is, then it goes beyond that of merely the cheap one -wo/man-band recording of events. And if it can dare to seek out its own aesthetic, we may have underestimated it. And if we can create bespoke site experiences, then there's no need to plead with the detractors.

Videojournalism can lay claim to its own Bauhaus. See Videojournalism definition on Mrdot here. Presenting at SXSW, I spoke about "the film is not enough" which I'll repost. There's still a lot of work to be done.


The film is not enough - Presentation at SXSW - annual gathering of creatives attracting more than 10,000 people in its week. Thanks to the many people, such as Tony who rated the session as one of their best sessions.

Here's an extract of my 50 minute talk

David presenting at SXSW on IM Videojournalism from david dunkley gyimah on Vimeo.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Visual Chocoloate lush ..oh my word

Fear/Love is a new short film I(Rob Chiu) have been working on for the past couple of months. We recently completed a hardcore 3 day shoot using two Red One cameras. Currently in post production Fear/Love is a story of identity, fear, and self destruction. Written and directed by Rob Chiu, produced by Lincoln Waldron with an original soundtrack by Ben Lukas Boysen aka Hecq. Coming Soon!

You know I'm really pants. I mean I do the odd thing here, then mix up something there and have a rest. Then I get a call from a friend, who's shooting his first short.

No! Do not leave this page. Do not leave this page because I said first short. Thank you!

Last week we sat down at the South Bank as he showed me the rough cut. I-am-pants.

What a beautiful piece of ...oh wa what..a..a what.. wow.

( you mean you liked it then?)

Like it? It's everything we often think in our head we'd like to do.

The story's profoundness is all the more, er profound, because more than enough directors, commercial makers of videojournalists having a stab at depicting teen angst, drugs, crime, get it wrong.

There are half a dozen on Brit TV at anyone time or even posters in Brixton that play on clever wording and imagery, but in reality, they're made for the suits and accountants.

"You see here teenager, that is a gun, and that is drugs and when you mix the two, you get into trouble, go to jail and your life is trully ******ed"

Brilliant campaign becry the suits.

But the very audience it's intended for watch 1 sec, smell how numpty it is and miss the message.

What Rob Chiu has made is something more deeper, less dialogue, a play on ifs and maybes. There is no constructed message. It is ambigious. You're unclear to the point that you start painting your own demons.

But every scene is recognisable.

Rob: Hey David are you on then?

David: Yeah, where?

Rob: Camberwell Estates!!

So I shot the behind the scenes of the making of this story and soon, when he's cut his final version, we'll mix it up. But I'm hoping I can persuade him to show you the cut first.

And if you don't like it, I'll give up videojournalism.

The art in video, videojournalism, and journalism

Solo - a film about videojournalism from david dunkley gyimah on Vimeo.

There is art in this thing we do, a non-quantifiable asset often hard to describe.

Some see the words, others see the spaces in between that connect the words. Many see what the eye records, but the artist sees the syllogism, past the obvious, reinterpreting and finding new meaning.

Can it be learned, studied ? Why oh yes! But often it comes from study, that insatiable and tireless habit to know why.

There are few geniuses in this world who can tilt the power of transaction, cause and effect, to be asymmetrical.

In life you get out what you put in.

Many through dexterity and greying hairs have become masters of their trade, but have not forgotten the respect for their craft. The writer chews over every letter, syllable, that emerges from the tips of their frayed fingers to the keys and magically finds itself on the screen.

But today we ask for the Master and Jack of all trades. It's not uncommon. Renaissance was coined centuries ago.

But have we become arrogant in those ways? New journalism does not prescribe old journalism as dead. For without one you cannot have the other. Without the foundation can we build sky scrapers that touch new space?

And have the masters also forgotten that at some stage they too must relinquish their crown? Time moves on, but deference to them must remain. And we're not simply talking about the Cronkites.

There is art in this thing we do, but it is one honed through late nights, early mornings and a bid to see past that where many will tell you it can't be done.

For all the great writers, many of whom had lean years, there are countless others clamouring to get to the top. For all the great videographers, another tier of peers awaits the chance to proclaim their prowess. For every multimediaist, there are countless more playing with form who say they have seen the future.

There is art in this thing we do, but often art does not seek a common consensus. It is the confidence of you and appreciation of others. It is the he or she that sticks their neck out for others to throw invectives.

It is he or she who dares say something that many of us find preposterous, only to realise eventually the haste in our reply was ill-thought.

Camera in eyes, full site streaming at 1gb, gesture video calling up by voice recognition: the hapless thoughts of fantasists.

There is art in this thing we do and sometimes when you're not deluded, you're the only one that knows and sees it. Till others see it as well. That is the greys in your hair, solemnity in your voice and the skill of your pen and video.

Therein lies the art.

Thursday, August 06, 2009


When we first introduced computers to the newsroom, no one liked it, now we can't take it out of the journalists' hands. So what's to say in the future we're have trouble taking the camcorder away from journalists

Wadih Tueni, IT Manager An-Nahar Newspaper, Beirut


Beirut Videojournalists - on from david dunkley gyimah on Vimeo.


Beirut Videojournalists is a videojournalism feature about videojournalism. It's a snapshot of one leading independent newspaper in Beirut, An-Nahar, their new videojournalists and trainer David Dunkley Gyimah's (publisher of overview working with them.

An-Nahar's IT Manager Wadih Tueni recruited three young former film students from forty applicants to head the online station which is building a loyal base with stories that extend beyond the daily diary news agenda.

The feature is a personal account of videojournalism and Beirut where David spent three days training with the newspaper. So what you see are the in-between moments David snatched in compiling a videojournalism piece. Nothing here was set up.

David, a former broadcaster with a background at the BBC, Channel 4 News,World Wide Television News and ABC News tells a story about Beirut, a city which would have needed little introduction into the problems it's faced in past wars.

However it's rebuilding its image from once being described as the "Paris of the Middle East" and recently nominated by the New York Times as one of the forty best tourism destinations.

Beirut Videojournalists illustrates what An-NaharTV is pioneering and what David brands as cine-videojournalism in reporting societal and people stories.

Beirut Videojournalists is showing on

End ++
More details on Beirut Videojournalists- making of.
More on David

Images from the film

1. Nouri and Joanna- Vjs prepping a story.

2. Wadih, the indefatigable driver of videojournalism at An-Nahar

3. Suburbia Beirut. The traditional and new live cheek by jowl.

4. Images taken by David on his super 8mm which give the city that 60s feel.

5. An enduring image of past conflicts - the Holiday Inn riddled with bullets and shells.

6. David reporting from Germayze street - one of the popular haunts for the young, tourists, artists and about anyone else, which comes alive around 10 pm.

7. Tinia, who completes the trio of videojournalists getting the hang of the "snatch-and-grab" stand up or piece-to-camera

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Beirut Videojournalism Press release more expained

Beirut Videojournalism - Media Press Release ( see previous release)

"There is a world that lies between art and what is beyond the artist's imagination, a place where laws are defied and nature grows in your living room. Surpassing design, luxury and anything that meets the eye it can be yours. Discover a world beyond".
Pic taken by David in Beirut

Immediate use

A combination of free framing and visual gut instinct - is what it boils down to - when constructing stories on the hoof.

Sometimes an innocuous image may carry significant value later in the film process. It may not seem like driving an F1 ( far from it) but the process of quick thinking and rethinking is required to fashion a narrative, when at face value it's nothing more than a closed event.

This is one method how David goes about creating videojournalism films. It's part a mimetic art, part muscle memory from one's past, he says, but the key is to capture the "sign-sentence"- which David has been developing as part of his PhD thesis at the Smart Lab.

A lot of brilliant film makers I know find it difficult to explain the process. Not the physicality of say the rule of thirds and crossing the line, but the kineasthetic and its

That's the part I'm interested in the same way for instance if you place four people with no apparent relationship together, as I did three weeks ago lecturing to a group of Chinese University students, everyone automatically starts making symmetrical groups out of them.

You have to ask yourself why this is?

Videojournalism and Artistic practice
David has been translating the surface art of his work into areas such as:
  • IMVJ -Integrated Multimedia Videojournalism. Brings together bespoke online site building with videojournalism. See soon current crop of Masters students he's been supervising
  • Vlog Butterfly - Visual Blog interviews
  • The Cinemaphome - which he's currently developing with other areas of visualisation at the SMARTlab PhD School
  • etc.
This year he commences an artist in residency at London's leading cultural and arts centre and Europe’s largest centre for the arts, the South Bank Centre.

Previous residents have included Orchestras such as:

And artists such as: Bellowhead, Cape Farewell, Shlomo, Lemn Sissay and Rahayu Supanggah.

David runs - which is an example of IMVJ - which is his labour of love. He has trained or lectured extensively in places such as Podgorica, Montenegro; Norway, Chicago and Miami and recently in Beirut- where he's completed a videojournalism film about videojournalism.

Image from Beyond Broadcast Media Futures 2000 - in which David is dues to put together a feature looking at the future of broadcast

Beirut Videojournalism - Media Press Release

Beirut Videojournalism - Media Press Release

Immediate use

You don't always need to plan, but you can still come away with a film of value, that's the beauty of videojournalism says David Dunkley Gyimah.

Award winning videojournalist, university senior lecturer and videojournalism trainer David spent four days in Beirut with one of Lebanon's leading independent newspapers, Annahar, swapping ideas and training tips with their videojournalists.

Annahar which prides itself on its innovation and independence is one of the first Lebanese newspapers to adopt videojournalism, hiring in ex-university film graduates.

Says David: "There are a number of skill sets I feel a videojournalist should have and the brief couple of days training provided an opportunity to make the team aware of them".

Wadih Tueni, Annahar's IT Manager, was responsible for setting up the scheme, which provides his videojournalists with the remit to report on lifestyle, society and people issues.

He invited David over after the pair met in Gotheburg, Sweden where David was presenting at the World Association of Newspapers.

Wadih says videojournalism answers a promise he gave to the former newspaper's editor Gebran Tueni, (also a relative), to put the paper at the forefront of technology.

Whilst in Beirut in between training, David snatched some shots which he's used to compile a 15 minute report that gives an overview of Annahar's plans and the course of videojournalism, which newspapers elsewhere may face.Link
His report also provides a backdrop to the city recently named one of the best tourism destinations by the New York Times.

A three and half minute preview cut can be viewed on with the full version posted on the 6th of August and also offered to Annahar TV


Continue here: David explain how one facet of videojournalism works and more on his background, which includes working for Newsnight and Channel 4 News