Mar 10, 2008

DNA2008: Panel - video journalism

The panel was chaired by Aljazeera's Richard Gizbert. Sitting on the panel were:

Pat Loughrey started by pointing out that video journalists were, after all, journalists and that he was worried of creating sects. What was important, he stressed, is the skill of narrative journalism. One of the mistakes news organizations make - including the BBC - is sending video journalists who lack the necessary skill and experience to cover the story: "Air miles in journalism is a requirement". Loughrey points out that most news organizations send either a a crew (producer, cameraman, reporter ...) which is more suitable for covering events like Tsunami or a video journalist who're best in covering 'human stories' - i.e. people effected in floods - which closer to documentary: using this mix is the most effective way.

Adrian Monck said that news organizations have resisted taking advantage of video journalism for twenty years but now they're paying a closer attention. "You should ask yourselves - the audience - if you're organizational politics is stopping you from taking full advantage of VJs". As for how video journalists faired, Monck admits it has been a mixed bag, some have done well and others not so great but the difference, he says, is good journalism - there's no substitute for it. Talking about quality, he says the audience don't reward a beautifully shot video as much as great content. One of the disadvantages of sending one person to the field with a camera is that that person will miss out in learning from an experienced correspondent.

Michael Rosenblum took the most radical position: he believes video journalism is the only way forward, that sending anymore than one journalist with a camera into the field was a waste of money and talent. Just like newspapers do, they send one journalist to a place who writes the story and sends back, so why should it be different in broadcast journalism. "Journalism is not a team sport". Gizbert relates that sometimes when he's working on a story, a producer would point out something or add an idea: surely, two heads are better than one. But Rosenblum isn't convinced, if the journalist can't do his job alone then s/he shouldn't be a journalist, s/he should looking for another career. Gizbert referrs to Rosenblum's approach as 'close-minded', just like those who're opposed to video journalism altogether.

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