In a guest post for OJB, cross-posted from Putney Debater, Michael Chanan explores his experiences of video blogging for the New Statesman and how it differs from conventional documentary.
Being written for presentation at ‘Marx at the Movies’, these notes address the topic from an angle which is rarely treated in film and video scholarship, that of the peculiar labour process and mode of production involved.
When I started video blogging on the New Statesman, I don’t know if either the NS or myself quite knew what to expect. The main reason for not knowing: it was December 2010, it was clear that something momentous going on, that the protest movement was building, and the idea I had, which the NS agreed to go with, was simple enough: to go out and film stuff that was happening from a sympathetic point of view, and thus, almost week by week, build up a kind of ongoing documentary record of the events. I was thinking in terms of Glauber Rocha’s formula for Cinema Novo in Brazil—to go and make films with a camera in the hand and an idea in the head. I also had the idea from the outset of bringing these blogs together sometime later into a single long documentary (which duly appeared as Chronicle of Protest). Continue reading →
So I was speaking at Blog08 last Friday – here are my vlogged impressions upon my return…
…and here is a snippet of video to give you a taste of that A List Bloggers panel tackling, of all things, ‘Is blogging journalism?’ The American speaker is Loren Feldman – a reactionary trapped in a revolutionary’s body – the Brit is Pete Cashmore of Mashable. Continue reading →
I’ve been increasingly using Seesmic as a ‘pre-blogging’ tool. What does that mean? It means that I invite comments on a question before the blog post is even written. It means I do some of my research in public. It means that, in talking through an issue with my peers, I clarify what it is we’re really talking about in the first place. Continue reading →
Two approaches to reporting on war have crossed my virtual desk recently. First, a broadcast journalist at ITV News told me about their video blogs from Afghanistan – embedded below:
Second, Reuters send me a press release about ‘Bearing Witness, “a unique multimedia package and online documentary to mark 5 years of reporting war in Iraq”
Watch the video. Then, go to http://iraq.reuters.com/
In the second part of this five-part series, I explore how adaptability has not only become a key quality for the journalist – but for the information they deal with on a daily basis too. This will form part of a forthcoming book on online journalism – comments very much invited.
The adaptable journalist
A key skill for any journalist in the new media age, whatever medium they’re working in, is adaptability. The age of the journalist who only writes text, or who only records video, or audio, is passing. Today, the newspaper and magazine, the television and the radio programme all have an accompanying website. And that website is, increasingly, filled with a whole range of media, which could include any of the following:
Microblogging/Text/email alerts (Twitter)
Community elements – forums, wikis, social networking, polls, surveys
This does not mean that the online journalist has to be an expert in all of these fields, but they should have media literacy in as many of these fields as possible: in other words, a good online journalist should be able to see a story and think:
‘That story would have real impact on video’;
or: ‘A Flash interactive could explain this better than anything else’;
or ‘This story would benefit from me linking to the original reports and some blog commentary’;
or ‘Involving the community in this story would really engage, and hopefully bring out some great leads’. Continue reading →
In the first part of a five-part series, I explore how and why a talent for brevity is one of the basic skills an online journalist needs – whether writing an article or employing multimedia. This will form part of a forthcoming book on online journalism – comments very much invited.
It shouldn’t have to be said that the web is different, but I’ll say it anyway: the web is different. It is not print, it is not television, it is not radio.
So why write content for the web in the same way that you might write for a newspaper or a news broadcast?
Organisations used to do this, and some still do. It was called ‘shovelware’, a process by which content created for another medium (generally print) was ‘shovelled’ onto the web with nary a care for whether that was appropriate or not.
It was not.
People read websites very differently to how they read newspapers, watch television or listen to radio. For a start, they read 25% slower than they do with print – this is because computer screens have a much lower resolution than print: 72 dots in every square inch compared to around 150-300 in newspapers and magazines (this may change, but usage patterns are likely to stay the same for some time yet).
As a result, you need to communicate your story in less time than you would in print. You need to develop brevity. Continue reading →
I was asked by The Telegraph’s Shane Richmond to write a blog post ‘from the year 2020’. “OK,” I thought, “so what would a blog post look like in 13 years’ time?” Well, it would almost certainly be mobile, so I filmed it on my phone. Apple will probably be scraping the barrel of products they can ‘re-engineer’ by then, and… well, it’s all in the video. I was hoping to get some video comments too, so if you’re feeling creative, upload a response to YouTube and I’ll add it in…
The New York Post reports on a clever (and relatively inexpensive) device which allows videographers to film, edit and upload material without spending large amounts of time on a computer:
“The little spy-corder device, named Flip Video, is being billed as the first camcorder to upload directly to sites such as YouTube and Grouper – eliminating the step of putting video on a computer to edit before uploading.”
At $119 and $149 it’s clearly aimed at the consumer market, but the instant publishing element makes it an appealing buy for journalists, although it seems you still need to go onto a computer to ‘instantly’ upload to the web.