decoding video journalism


The Insider / The Toolbox: Mark Egan

iVideocracy met video journalist Mark Egan at BBC Television Centre for a lowdown on the best kit to use and the ups and downs of training VJ’s. He was also kind enough not to mention that when arranging the interview, I accidentally put an ‘X’ at the bottom of my text message. What a guy.

The Insider/Toolbox: Mark Egan

Mark gave a great interview with iVideocracy recently, which you can read here.

Words and video: JB

Inside the arts cuts: two types of video journalism

Newspapers have been using video content combined with words to tell stories for a long time. Here, are two different newspapers and two different ways of telling a story, one short and one long about the arts cuts hitting Britain.

The first link

The Insider: Barbara Rowlands talks about video journalism in magazine publishing

Barbara Rowlands is the course director of magazine journalism at City University. Here she says that video journalism must now be a standard part of what magazine journalists do.

She says that the video content in the magazine industry is defined by what sort of magazine content is required. So a magazine, which has fashion shoots in a more traditional studio setting require skills which the average journalist using a flip cam reporting from a scene won’t need.

This might mean that people looking to become fashion journalists and get involved in shooting would have to know a higher form of video journalism than the average journalist.

The Insider: Michael Rosenblum on the death of traditional TV news

Michael Rosenblum is a video journalsim expert and ex-Tv producer. He was founder and president of NYT TV, part of the New York Times Company, and works as a consultant to various news outlets around the world, such as the BBC, Tokyo Broadcasting and Korea Broadcasting. He has some very strong – and often very loudly expressed – views about the future of video journalism and the demise of the traditional TV news package.

Here he is in 2008 speaking about video journalism at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism:

iVideocracy recently caught up with Rosenblum and put a few questions to him. An attempt to record a Skype interview to New York was botched, so here’s the resulting transcript:

iV: You’ve said in the past that the traditional TV news package is now defunct: “We make the paper, you buy the paper – it doesn’t work like that any more.” Why doesn’t it work like that any more?

MR: Since the town crier came into the village square, our model for the dissemination of information has been one from the top down: “Here is the news. Our job is to make it. Your job is to listen – or read.” Newspapers, radio, TV, have all worked the same. What the web does is turn the entire process on its head. Now, information comes from the people upward to the top. Look at the most successful websites – Ebay, Google, Amazon. They are all reflective of this change. In all of those sites, the content comes from everybody. There is no executive editor at Ebay who decides what they will be selling. There is no editor at Craigslist [an international classifieds ads site]. In fact, the minute you hired one you would kill what makes the site work. The world of journalism is no different: millions of people posting items all of the time.

iV: Doesn’t removing the camera man, producer, editor etc from news stories reduce the aesthetic quality of video journalism? And if so, is that a bad thing?

MR: It improves the quality of the journalism. All of those things were not the requirements of  journalism. They were the requirements of a technnology that no longer exists. Cameramen were needed because a camera weighed a ton so you need a moose to drag it  around. You couldn’t call him a moose so you called him a camera man. The editor was needed because the edit suite was huge and incredibly complex. How complex is FCP [Final Cut Pro]? How much does your flipcam weigh? As for producers, I never really understood what the hell they do anyway. But the producer’s presence allowed TV to hire airheads to do the reporting onscreen because the producer did all the intellectual work. That system made for crap. Give me a real journalist with a camera and a plane ticket: you cut the cost, you improve the content.

iV: Jeremy Hunt, UK Culture Secretary, has big proposals for increasing the dominance of local TV news. Do you think this is a good or bad thing and what are the implications for VJ’s?

MR: Jeremy Hunt is not wrong. The UK could support lots of local TV news, but it can only support it commercially if the method of producing it is consistent with the potential income from advertising. The way traditional TV news is made, this not going to work. Newsrooms, studios, producers, HR staffs, carpeting, big buildings, off-site meetings for the team, directors, editors. Bullshit. Hire all of them and you kill the news.  Go into any local or regional TV newsroom in the UK and do a headcount. 250? 300? Now count the number of cameras in the field – because this is the only thing making the product. How many are there? 6? 8? That’s why ITV is going broke.  I told them this but they can’t hear it. If you ran a newspaper that had 250 staff but only 8 pencils, what kind of crap newspaper would you get? That’s what your local TV is.

So… are you convinced by Rosemblum’s argument about the death of the traditional TV news package?


The Insider: Interview with the Editor of Telegraph TV

The Telegraph Media Group have invested heavily in improving their multimedia offering to enhance a story for the digital age. We talk to Sumant Bhatia, editor of Telegraph TV, who tells iVideocracy what video does to the Daily Telegraph offering as a whole, why traditional TV packages are dead, and how Telegraph journalists managed to bag the David Cameron egg-throwing exclusive.

Do you agree with Bhatia? Let us know what you think.

Words, interview and edit – HL
Additional Footage – JB

Video Journalism: Old VS New – Alain Robert, Spiderman

Alain Robert, also known as Spiderman, has climbed more than 70 skyscrapers, including the Empire State Building and the Cheung Chong Building in Hong Kong. Yesterday he scaled Burj Khalifa building in Dubai, which is 2717 ft tall.

Robert always creates big news stories with his projects. Video is often used in these news stories to show viewers and readers the exact nature of his endeavour. The video embedded below shows a traditional TV news package dealing with the story. Many video journalists iVideocracy has spoken to are sceptical about the advantages of this traditional package, because it often forces voice-overs to state the obvious over video footage. Here, Alain Robert is seen climbing the Burj Khalifa while sporting bright orange trousers. Over this footage, the voice-over observes, “Robert, sporting a pair of brightly-coloured orange trousers, started his…climb.” Yeah, thanks.

Perhaps, though, with social media and the internet, there is no need for a succinct and completed package that compresses the story into a few minutes’ worth of material. You might well watch this footage on your iPhone on the way home from work, after reading about it on Twitter. The days of receiving all your news in one go in front of the 6 o’clock news are arguably over.

Here is an  example of the story being told without intrusive voice-over or narration. This video deals with the subject in a straightforward manner, and coupled with the story accompanying it here, is sufficient to allow the reader to observe Robert’s actions for themselves. Because it is assumed viewers can find out about the story elsewhere on the internet, there is no need for one outlet to try and create a single package that defines it.


Inside Ethics: Sally Webb on honesty in filming

Sally Webb is an acclaimed BBC journalist. In this very interesting and important documentary,