Adam Westbrook // ideas on digital storytelling and publishing

Why visual journalists need to get their act together (fast)

Posted in Broadcasting and Media, Journalism by Adam Westbrook on June 7, 2010

I’ve been putting a lot of thought into finding new ways to do historical documentary storytelling over the past two years.

As those who’ve spoken to me about it in the past will know, I think what we’re offered on television and radio is formulaic, sometimes crude, and almost always boring. The internet offers a fantastic platform to try new ways of doing things.

So here is a rare and refreshing example of a wonderful, short, historical documentary. But here’s the shock: it’s been made by Honda.

Yes, it seems even car companies are having a go at being film makers – and succeeding.

It’s part of a new campaign called Live Every Litre, and aims to make a documentary about the amazing journeys people take, or want to take, in their lives.

The wonderful treatment of this story (showing a veteran taking his granddaughter to see Normandy – why has the BBC never done that?!) and it’s subtle execution aside, this little film could be evidence of two things for visual journalists:

  1. that teaming up with companies wanting to use the power of storytelling to market their products could actually be an effective way of producing great video journalism (this series has Claudio Von Planta at the helm)
  2. that if we don’t pick up the baton soon, it’ll be Honda winning BAFTAs and Emmys in 5 years – while video journalists are busy working in their showrooms.

4 Responses

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  1. Igalico said, on June 7, 2010 at 9:51 pm

    I agree, but how long before journalists actually realise that it’s information used to serve corporations’ interests (like rehabilitating the image of car traveling in our “green” times), and not to inform ?

  2. Jornalismo visual : Ponto Media said, on June 7, 2010 at 9:56 pm

    […] É PRECISO ver este vídeo da Honda para perceber o que é storytelling e o que é fazer anúncios com grande qualidade: Why visual journalists need to get their act together (fast). […]

  3. Adam Westbrook said, on June 8, 2010 at 10:38 am

    @igalico: in a sense I’m more interested in the storytelling here, rather than the product it is trying to sell. It has been kept quite subtle hasn’t it, which is either good or sinister depending on how you look at it. I don’t think this is a case, though, of journalists not realising what they’re doing – it’s a conscious decision to find new ways of doing what you love, right?

  4. […] An amazing piece of historical documentary making…by a car company […]


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