Adam Westbrook // ideas on digital storytelling and publishing

Footnotes for new journalism

Posted in Journalism by Adam Westbrook on March 15, 2009

A couple of good bits on the  future of journalism have popped up in the last week-mostly through discussions at the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Texas.

First up, check out  a good summary of  a talk by David Dunkley-Gyimah of at the SXTXState blog.  It gives a very good overview of video journalism as a practice, including:

  • how it was pioneered in the mid 90s in the UK and US, with hope it was the way forward, but died out  when “we realized that TV is not dead.”
  • but how the internet has given VJing a new life with the rise of online video
  • assertion that the form is driven by a ‘visual narrative’ with pictures telling the story, as with traditional broadcast news
  • but David points out current VJing follows the old conventions and just sticks them on the web
  • instead, it needs to discover its own style, which he says is more cinematic: “When it comes to the net, there is no code yet as I believe that is set in stone….we’ve all been taking TV’s language and applying that and it hasn’t quite worked. Video journalism needs a more cinematic- hightened visual base.”

Secondly Michael Rosenblum’s puts up a very fluent argument on how to run a financially sound newsroom – by not actually having a newsroom.

  • he’s setting up a second cable VJ news network-but won’t be renting a newsroom
  • all his VJs work from home or in the field on laptops
  • that saves a huge amount of money and makes the operation more likely to make a profit
  • some executives rubbish the idea saying ‘you can’t run a news operation without a newsroom’
  • but he says “‘Facebook now has 170 million members. It seems to function quite well as a nexus of information, both text and increasingly video. It gets information, processes it and distributes it. It has a net value of $15 billion last time I looked. They don’t.”