Wednesday, April 24, 2013

What is videojournalism on the web, in multimedia and offline - a major study and film - and why it matters

What is videojournaism and why it matters?

What is videojournalism?  

This could be a boring academic question, but it isn't. Many have defined, or described it, but few have attempted an anthropological (historical) examination.

Some people have, but as journalistic enterprises and as a journalist myself they've made for interesting reads, but I wanted to attempt something different. A deep invasive examination into what it is, and its purpose. I secretly refer to it as the lost chapters.

Why does this matter? Here's an analogy. You can't begin to understand social media, without the contribution of web 2.0, web 1 and unequivocally going back to the break out of the web itself into the public domain in the 1990s

Only by interrogating its past, provenance,  can you understand the potential of its future. And that's what I have set out to do.  In the 1990s there were around five different pioneers that emerged in the US, UK, Denmark, Germany and Japan.

What if some of those people never went away. What if they quietly continued with their craft? What if they harboured deep thoughts about it and amazingly emerged and said we did it quite differently.

What did they mean? Then they showed us and from that we could see the endless possibilities, its potential and where videojournalism was strangled. Yes its potential was pared down.

You may think I sound like a salesman. That magic snake potion for the media's woes. But actually my research has the dryness warranted from academic research. No hyperbole, but substantiated facts.

The process has taken me to China, Cairo and Chicago. Its language and construct is more expansive, yet as previous posts going back to 2007 show it's not a utopia. There is no such thing, but the form when it bears its fangs it constitutes an artistic form par excellence.

But why would anyone bother reading it?  Its 85,000 words, involves more than 150 interviews.

They include the figures that brought videojournalism to the BBC and has taken 6 years as a part time PhD.  So when I do publish please feel free to skip to the conclusion then work you way backwards.

5 Reasons for presenting

Why would anyone consider reading it. If you don't mind here's 5 rhetorical answers
  1. I was one of the first official (National Union of Journalists) videojournalists in the UK in 1994.
  2. I have spent near 20 years immersed in its form and style, in one year creating 500 stories on air. Before being a videojournalist I worked for the BBC e.g. Newsnight, was an on air reporter for BBC 2 Reportage and ITN's London Tonight and produced for Channel 4 News and ABC News.
  3. I have used it on projects to create: 
    • commercials, turned around in a day that went out on CNN International
    • Being Heavyweight boxer Lennox Lewis videojournalist during his fight with Tyson. 
    • Creating the first ever Country-to-Country videojournalism broadcast (Ghana and South Africa)
    • Launch the UK's first newspapers training with the Press Association
    • Created films that have been well received international, winning international awards
    • Used it t create Obamas 100 Day film showed at the Royal Festival Hal

     4. It's been one of the most difficult things I have undertaken and I'm grateful for opportunities such
     as being a judge for the UK's television Emmys, the RTS that opened my mind some more.
    5. Its work that extends from winning the J-lab knight Batten Awards for Innovation in Journalism
     and the international videojournalism awards in Berlin.

And I'm looking forward to sharing it with as many people as possible, my good friends in the US and universities, Europe, China and Ghana/South Africa. They're linning up nicely.

Its place in a future of journalism when its done and that's soon, because I'm also making it into a film. The results I believe will question videojournalism to the point that "there is no such thing as videojournalism, yet there IS videojournalism". This almost drove me mad.

In the meantime I look forward to sharing and explaining some of its preliminary findings such as the image above, how videojournalists read a scene in making a film.