VJ training at the BBC

The BBC’s excellent College of Journalism website has a series of posts on the evolving state of journalism in the UK,  many of which go into detail about the many different media with which aspiring journos are expected to be fluent. Several of these focus on video journalism in particular:

In this 8-minute clip, Mark Egan demonstrates he goes about creating a short video news story for the Beeb, and includes the finished piece (annoyingly, BBC iPlayer doesn’t allow embedding).

There’s also an accompanying webpage containing some useful tips and tricks for video journos.

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What do you think of online video journalism?

There’s a lot of talk about online journalism as a growing phenomenon- but who is actually using videos to source news?

We spoke to fellow bloggers and the public to find out:

Jake from Wikileaks and beyond said online video journalism is a useful medium.

You can follow Jake at @datajourno or view his blogs here.

Similarly, Dale from World VJ  said “video content is easier to get to grips with  than print.”

You can follow Dale @world_vj or you can read his blogs here.

One member of the public, Garth, said online video gives everyday people a voice.

Interestingly, while a lot of the public were  clearly using online video- only those within the younger age bracket (19-25) were willing to be filmed. It seems that while video may be playing a larger role in people’s information gathering, they are not necessarily keen to participate in online video!

The oldest online video viewer we found was Riah’s gran who, aged 71, sees “no point in buying a paper, when you can be entertained and informed at the same time- and they sometimes even use music!”

By Shaima and Riah

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Facebook – all talk and no trousers?

by Hi Pandian at flcikr

I have always been a little confused by Facebook – possibly because I don’t have that many friends in real life and I suspect I would have even fewer in cyberland.

However, it seems to be the most powerful force known to webkind and I had a nose around recently. I saw the good:


the bad: 


and the downright ugly:


Just when I was unsure about what conclusion I was going to draw about the whole phenomenon, I realised that the purpose of Facebook is to make me laugh:


While I accept the argument that it helps people keep in touch during uprisings (there are so many these days) and government crackdowns (ditto), surely the Chinese/Iranian way of dealing with this drastically undermines its effectiveness – they cut the internet feed to the country as and when they wish to.

It’s hard to throw a gnome at someone by candlelight.

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Somebody agrees with me!!!!!!

by Camera Slayer's Photostream at flickr

It gladdens my little heart – I am not alone in my worries about online journalism.

This excellent report confirms my concerns about the use of videos with no analysis and context, and the news channels relying upon them.


And Robert Niles final words on the matter: “Ultimately, as with many lessons about journalism in the Internet era, it all comes down to building community. By building a stronger global community of broadcast journalists, we can bring the best possible coverage to the individual communities that each network serves.”

So we may all have jobs to go to afterall..!

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Careless tweeting costs jobs

by anoki120 at flickr

The London University academic who posted derogatory comments on Twitter about a TV reporter who was sexually assaulted in Egypt has resigned.

Nir Rosen, 33, said CBS’s Lara Logan would “become a martyr and glorified” and was “probably just groped” during an attack by a 200-strong mob in Cairo.

His not so well crafted words had earlier cost him his job at New York University and now he has left LSE. A spokesperson for LSE had previously confirmed their disapproval of his “offensive” comments but refused to say if they had led to his departure.


Whilst agreeing with the view that his comments were offensive, and speaking as a woman, I am not sure I am totally happy about comments on Twitter having this sort of impact. What is the point of having such social-networking forums if, what may have been, honestly held beliefs can come back to haunt you.

Were his comments really so terrible that they needed to cost him his job?

Another reason for me not to join the tweeting classes..

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Top ten video journalism sites

It’s dawned on me that I may not be the only one with no prior experience video, but an interest in the medium.video camera Harajuku

During my crash-course look at video journalism, I’ve encountered many sites with useful titbits- and others that promised much and delivered little.

So, I thought it would be useful to put together a list of sites/articles that helped me get my noggin around this subject [in no particular order] :

1)  IMVideo Journalism blog – Not sure whether it’s my old age, but I find the format of the blog a bit confusing, but there are some really well-informed articles on the future of video. Particularly a recent piece on the future of web video, found here

2] VJ Movement– probably praised them too many times now

3)      Fellow blogger, Alice Ross, has already praised the BBC College of Journalism website. Perfect for those planning to go out with a camera but a little unsure about what to do once it’s turned on.

4)   Another blog, News Videographer has a nice mix of information about theory around video, available technology and even job postings (in the U.S.)

5]   Digital Journalist’s ten tips for dramatically improving your video journalism stories by Ken Kobre and Jerry Lazar.  At first glance this list can seem a bit patronising, i.e. remember to find a story, do a good interview.But it reminds you to stand back and remember that fundamentals of good journalism still apply when shooting a video.

Also places good emphasis on making sure the video journalism can stand independent from text.

6)      This clip was filmed during an event with the content collective and the BBC college of Journalism.  It features a range of professionals in the industry considering what video journalism is. Some people are using the word ‘art’, others are sticking pretty closely to terms like ‘documentary’. Worth a peep

7) This blog post from online journalism looks at the different types of video journalism – i.e. edited, ‘personal accounts’. Not new or earth shattering info, but concise.

8)  Youtube –too obvious? Sure, but I can’t be the only one who didn’t realise the wealth of current affairs/news footage on there –I assumed it was all dancing cats and laughing babies

9)  Again, VBS.tv has already been highlighted on this site- but good place to see some original  footage

10) Journalism in motion….couldn’t resist

Let me know if I’ve missed any corkers

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Interview with video journalist – The internet has given video journalism a platform


I seem to have spent a lot of time on this blog talking about video journalism, without having spoken to many professional video journalists.

In a bid to rectify this I spoke to Tom Chown, a BBC trained video journalist  who worked for Kent TV before becoming a freelance broadcaster and Director of Digitom

TV journalist of the Year in 2008,  Tom has a wide range of experience in broadcasting, with pieces ranging from current affairs reports to film features.

We spoke about the opportunities the internet has provided for   aspiring video journalists.

How has the internet changed video journalism?

Online video content has been around for a number of years now, often as a subsidiary to print still. For mainstream media in particular, it has meant a cheap and relatively quick way of increasing the dissemination of content.  That’s certainly not going to slow down any time soon.

How about for independent video journalists?

Again, it has provided a widening of the audience for your work. It’s easy to set up your own channel on YouYube and if you’re committed you can build a strong community and appreciation for your work.

For example, at the student protests, you’re getting independent journalists down there getting footage that broadcasters with full-on camera crews, just can’t get.

However, it’s more of a platform than a money-making venture. It’s still tough to make money from internet videos- that’s the next challenge.

Is freelancing the way forward for aspiring video journalists?

Freelance was certainly good move for me but I needed the years of training at the BBC.

I’d recommend that students get their University video projects online, as they’ve invested time into it and it’s a great way to start building that interest in their work.

The world of video journalism is competitive, but no more than any other creative industry right now.

TOM CHOWN: Documentary Reel from Tom Chown on Vimeo.


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