Adam Westbrook // ideas on digital storytelling and publishing

Some great video journalism from Afghanistan

Posted in Journalism by Adam Westbrook on February 19, 2010

Quite a few of you have been asking for more examples of top quality video journalism to be showcased on this blog.

I’m happy to oblige with this excellent study in calm, authoritative video journalism from one of the most experienced professionals in the game, Vaughan Smith.

After a month with soldiers from the Royal Anglicans in Afghanistan, Smith self shot and edited this 11 minute report, which was broadcast on the UK’s Channel 4 News last weekend.

Click here to watch it on Vaughan’s blog.

Why is it good video journalism? Well it does what good video journalism should: it gets close and intimate to the action. Vaughan’s small camera means he can go on patrol with the soldiers. His shooting skills enable him to capture sequences even though he’s filming on his own.

There is some voice over in this report, but it is infrequent and Vaughan’s calm voice only appears to explain the technicalities of what we are seeing on screen. The rest of it is just pure reality unfolding on screen often in extended sequences. For similar excellent Solo Video Journalism, check out the work of John D McHugh, who is also currently back in Afghanistan.

After more than a decade going where mainstream TV crews wouldn’t go, Vaughan now runs the popular Frontline Club in central London, a watering hole for journalists and debate about the industry.

Meanwhile, Ciara Leeming, writing on the Duckrabbit Blog has highlighted a good audio slideshow from the BBC, again reflecting on time in Afghanistan.

5 Responses

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  1. Jerry Lazar said, on February 22, 2010 at 6:27 pm

    Excellent examples, Adam…
    And for more high-quality work, please check out KobreGuide to the Web’s Best Videojournalism, which daily showcases the creme de la creme…
    In fact, we just announced the winners of the First Annual KobreGuide Awards for best videojournalism of 2009 — so there’s an abundance of great stuff to check out on our homepage…
    All best,
    Jerry Lazar
    Editorial Director
    KobreGuide.com

  2. adamwestbrook said, on February 23, 2010 at 7:47 am

    Hi Jerry thanks for the tip – I’m always looking for examples of good quality video journalism!

  3. Brennig said, on March 11, 2010 at 6:50 pm

    Awesome video, but isn’t it The Royal Anglians, not Anglicans?

  4. […] Technically, this film is far from perfect. Some of the shots are badly framed, the voice over is stodgy, and the sound on some of the interviews is below par. Other contenders for the award were technically much stronger – for example, Vaughan Smith’s film made during a firefight in Afghanistan. […]

  5. […] Technically, this film is far from perfect. Some of the shots are badly framed, the voice over is stodgy, and the sound on some of the interviews is below par. Other contenders for the award were technically much stronger – for example, Vaughan Smith’s film made during a firefight in Afghanistan. […]


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