Friday, October 17, 2014

#Student.You - Cinema Journalism psycholgical film in University

This is my personal project yet. A psychological film about Masters students wrestling with the ideas and concepts that shape knowledge.

I was their supervisor and enjoyed working with them. And I hope they enjoyed the experience too.

#Student.You from david dunkley gyimah on Vimeo.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Great Interview. Publish I could die. Ethics in digital

Sabeen al-Nuaim ( not her real name) was at ease speaking on camera. She smoked a cigarette in between the pauses describing her filming days in Syria. 

She had recently recorded a young woman torn by shrapnel hurriedly being placed in a battered car which sped off to a makeshift hospital 20 minutes away.

Sabeen, reminiscing about the event and the horrors of videoing in one of the world’s dangerous spots, questioned her work exposing atrocities that often put her life in danger in Aleppo.
Yet, she said, she was compelled to record because these stories needed telling.
We wrapped the interview in Adana, four hours drive from the Syrian border.
A week later in production, we received an email from Sabeen in broken English explaining she could not be profiled in our documentary. The risk was too great to her and her family’s safety.
In spite of a release form and that she was an eloquent speaker with a clutch of amazing stories to tell which made our documentary, we dropped her contribution.
In an age where discretion seems an unwieldy sentiment against fame-seeking and that privacy or secrecy seems arcane when the fruits could be twitter fame, some codes of conduct should remain.

It’s journalistic ethics, but more so it should be about common decency — understanding that your actions could result in someone’s death.
The rise in social media though threatens this basic action. More recently, a well known British television journalist spoke to a group of out Masters students revealing aspects about his work which could imperil his safety, so we had the student’s adhere to Chatham House rules.
The rule states, in a bid for open discussion, that:
When a meeting, or part thereof, is held under the Chatham House Rule, participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed.
While links such as The BBC’s Twitter users guide to the law underline the growing concerns in social media, the idea that personal privacy is seen as a thing of the past poses a problem.
Snapchat, instagram — the ability to take a picture of anyone in public does not come without risk.
Many Christmases ago I was filming homeless people receiving a warm meal from a local charity. My camera lingered on a man. Minutes later, while still filming, I heard mumbled to me: ‘Do you like hospital food?’
It took a while for his message to sink in, but what he was saying was he had rights too.
Probity and integrity — hall marks of old fashion journalism have more currency today than ever and with cameras aplenty.
For the sake of a picture or story how many of us would betray the confidentiality of a source, or shrug our shoulders at our interviewee’s concerns?

Monday, October 06, 2014


I'm in the midst of redesigning viewmagazine. tv, with what I hope are some exciting new links. Here's the front page.

The University of You -Digital's impact on you

It’s no revelation we all want to be like someone. Caravaggio really wanted to be Leonardo Da Vinci. Popes wanted to be monarchs. Ronaldo would like to be Pele and Britain’s Prime minister fancies himself as Margaret Thatcher.
Young boys imprint on their fathers, daughters on their mothers — generally. And you, you want to be like the the person with the best twitter feed, or Linkedin ranking.
On the web, populist articles spout how to get the best social media feed, how to be the best instragramer, how to be this and how to that!
It’s not enough to be you anymore, you have to be her or him — with the nom de plume. Same face different mask.
I’m just as guilty. In my lectures I ask Masters students to look for the exemplar in the field and study their methods. But I add at some point break away; become you — again.
When I started as a broadcaster, I imprinted upon Sir Trevor Macdonald. Clear diction and enunciation and an inflexion that emphasised the power of speech.
I interviewed security chiefs e.g. ex-head of the CIA, created 'Obama's 100 Days' video with a live orchestra at the South Bank Centre, coded and built websites, and recently shot a film on training young Syrian journalists near the Turkey-Syria border -- not enough.
But if our idols where once our guides, today they manifest as nicotine craves. We would no sooner slay those we could admire, because frankly we see ourselves as better than them.
Deference has given way to a maniacal streak of impersonation. What ever happened to you? The English poet and painter William Blake said 'The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance—it is the illusion of knowledge.'
We simply cannot get enough, and the more we acquire, the more humble we should become. Often, we don't.
You with the imperfections, you who gradually and methodically got to where you did. You who knew you could do better, but had values.
On twitter we all want to be heard, we chirp noisily across the canopy. We’re incessant twitchers — looking at our feeds. Our attention spans wane after 5 mins. Video is 6 seconds, and news 140 characters.
The X-factor popularises public humiliation and a gladiatorial baying of blood. Intolerance, unBritishness, is now packaged as de rigueur --for the sake of TV ratings.
Strange constructs become a cultural norm. Where in the human evolution of speech did 140 characters define how to converse? There’s no power in diversity. To be different is to be isolated. I’m black, you’re white, it doesn’t matter — salute Michael Jackson. But it’s also what makes us different.
All these phenomenon are people-made. The Tories bash the poor; Labour sneers at the well-off. In a land of common sense, common sense has become a commodity; reflection, an anathema, foresight and wisdom — a daft concept.
But we can still recover lost ground. An empathy of understanding, a recognition that imperfection exists, if not welcomed, and that time is a friend, we should handle deftly.
Stop, look, listen. Be You! Become the university of you. Become the person in an era of opportunity to be that unique voice — YOU.
David next speaks at an International Business Summit in London. His PhD examines a future immersive emergent story form.