Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Sharing and laughing. See you in 2014

Then he wanted to take a picture and I couldn't help laughing

Then I laughed some more. I had ro sit down

By this time, I had no idea why I was laughing

But still laughed some more

And then I thought, you know, it's good to laugh. Happy New Year and may 2014 be a brilliant one.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Young people, You and young black 15-30s doing social in journalism - redux Chapter 3

It's proved a highly topical subject. It started off this Christmas after I saw something Q, a go-getter filmmaker had written on his Facebook about support for filmmakers. Q and I have been meaning to touch base since a couple of years. We share common interests as filmmakers.

And then we started to talk and we've been talking ever since.  I posted about young people and black folk doing journalism, but not as we know it.   Q,  taking his skills as an entrepreneur, filmmaker and social media artist  crafted a response of sorts -- more a self standing piece. 

To say his article has caught fire is an understatement. It speaks with an authorship that is personal and relays direct experiences. Anyone who is able to put together a feature film, create a book, physically do something that others may take enjoyment from deserves to acknowledged.  Q has done those things and his narrative spurned one reader to leave a message.

Here's a clip of what Q asks before a reader The New Black contributes...It started on Twitter.

TOP DOG AGENCY @topdogagency

@viewmagazine @digidickinson @DSLRinformer my basic question is: "What is news?" no I am being totally serious. "What is news?" because its vital 2 me 2 understanding journalism. if we don't value whatever the system, universities, journalists claim to be news. What is news?


..... Later Q adds

In my book Deadmeat, I talked about the commodification of the digital youth. However, young 15-30 year old black people are learning how to make money from their own online commodities and keeping the digital income, because they have their audiences.


Thoroughly enjoyed reading this innovative response from Q and have to add to the topic. 

The business model for news organisations is crumbling because social media has created a digital ecosystem model that has changed the way to do journalism. 

News organisations not only struggle with public perception of journalism, but also to find the right balance between quality and quantity for their brand value. The key to building a healthy digital ecosystem is to create value for everyone involved. 

Simply, the journalism brand is broken. 

The young people understand the value of digital technology and use this to seek out opportunities for implementing it with a view to make an impact... this is known as The New Wave! 

A few weeks ago, a well known recording artist dropped her new album using this strategy and shocked everyone. 

Journalists now want to be navigators in this realm. Rule #1: To navigate, one has to operate ‘light years ahead’ of the traffic in the super highway. 

What is digital ecosystem? Click link to watch the short animated film 


That then led me to think of several things related to the New Black's  comments. It's a bit long, but I hope you enjoy it for digging back experiences,  reflecting as an educator ( I lecture at a the University of Westminster) and as a videojournalist ( DIY cinema news maker) and drawing on my experience as me - and everything that represents.

So first I'd like to introduce myself.


David Dunkley Gyimah at Aggrey House Prempeh College

This is me above....Prempeh College, Ghana -- one of the best colleges in Ghana. We have a name for ourselves" Amanfoo. It translates as: "one of us".

We believe in the motto: Suban ni nimdie. "Character and knowledge". When we tracked down the headmaster who built this school he stated I wanted something that the boys would be aspirational about. Good word that! aspirational. It is life's fuel.

Trailer - Prempeh College from david dunkley gyimah on Vimeo.

He wanted us to do things for our country and others, not the other way around. That motto is important then as it is now. It is Social!

This is me again. 1992 I tried to find work in the UK having graduated from Uni and worked for Newsnight. For two years I emigrated to South Africa. I worked for ABC News and one of the people I produced was Danny Glover.

In 1997, having had a brilliant stint at working back in the UK, I returned to South Africa to make a programme for Ghana  and South African TV called the United States of Africa. Back in 1997 before You Tube was born, the Ghanaians were using videojournalist. Wow ! Very few people know that ! I have film of us working.

I was in Soweto in a bar and then a friend said to me look who that is and it was Quincy Jones, so I went over to him and we had a short Q and A. On this trip  I also met Nelson Mandela. This was the age of analogue photography so sadly I never got a pic of us shaking hands to send to mum :(.

In  2001 I took on one of life's memorable assignments, as team  Lennox Lewis videojournalist fighting Tyson. We went from the Pocono mountains to Las Vegas. It was mad good. On fight night, no one slept as we partied all night and wrote copy about the fight.

As a creative and journalist your sense of belonging never escapes you. I too have fought battles, but as a filmmaker you also seek to be recognised by your peers whatever their colour, so I have done what you could say is 'hard core' media.

In Washington this interview with the former head of the CIA. Yes one of the world's renowned intelligence gathering agencies is a favourite.

Last September I undertook an assignment that will stay with me forever. I was invited to  near the Turkey-Syrian border to work with some young Syrian Videojournalists. Was I scared? Flying out yes! Because all Americans had been ordered to leave the place, I was going to, by the US government.

So by now there's kind of two reactions I get. I'm crazy. You have to be a bit. And he might know a thing or two. I'm cautious and I don't believe in hierachies. If anyone is reading this who I have taught, knowledge is power to be shared. I get angry at those who believe knowledge gives them a particular pedestal. This is why social-- a word that has been around for a long time, but has become popularised recently -- means a lot to me.

Many of my former students are now very good friends and they too have shown how Social works for them, like Don Omope of African Screens.

And Dionne Clarke who became an LA correspondent and now is an editor for one of the UK's top entertainment magazine. She and Don filmed Dream Girls the red carpet that we put on Viewmagazine.tv

I did do one thing that was a bit crazy ( oh another, oh yes and another). In 2000 I dived down 35m to a wreck in Turkish waters with their army to find  a World War I  ship and nearly had my last gulp of air. I panicked under water after a giant under water ribbon current slammed me against some bomb shells that could have gone off. It's funny how you start thinking of wierd things in these circumstances. I kept thinking have I put the rubbish out!

A couple of years ago I was in China. That was good - even learned some Mandarin. Funny, but no one in the city paid any notice to me as a black man in a sea of Chinese. Only one eight year old thought I was Will Smith. LOL

And then another cool thing was walking down Time Square after a presentation and seeing me being beamed onto some giant screens.

That was followed by Apple giving me the shout to speak about digital.


So here's my response that picks up on themes from the New Black and perhaps spells out a few myths about the media.

Thanks "The New Black", I'm sure Q will come back on this. Everything you say is valid, but if I can add some footnotes to this. The business model for news was always a precarious one built on cultural commercial interests. In the 1930s newspapers complained against radio. In the 1960s newspapers lobbied against TV. In the 1990s mainstream complained against cable and satellite. In the noughties it was the Internet.

The issue with journalism is that it was never a one size fits all i.e there's Jet Magazine, Ebony, The Voice, Caribbean Times, Jewish Chronicle etc, so I believe we're talking about mainstream media in say, the UK, sometimes dubbed "white media".  

Professor Hall - Wikipedia
News and journalism has always struggled with perceptions way before the Net, which is why it is one of the most researched areas in academic studies.  1000s of books have been written about why it's broken, with some great ones from Professor Stuart Hall

News audiences at the BBC started to drop off from 1994 - just as cable kicked in and provided wider choice. The idea of 'broad' in broadcasting could not be sustained, because people now had cable and satellite to choose from. MTV recorded some of its highest penetration figures in the 90s, particularly after screening Thriller -- first time MTV would screen the video of a solo black artist.

You're right that "The key to building a healthy digital ecosystem is to create value for everyone involved". Newspapers/ broadcasters  have attempted to do this by talking to constituents who make a great share of the audience.  Audiences = business, and these audiences fall into strict class and market groups.

One of the first things the Net did, particularly during the Dotcom boom of 2000 was to show that those market structures didn't work online. You could pick other systems like early and late adopters or Digital Natives or Non Native. However, the legacy power of certain media has proved strong enough to resist changing to new metric's altogether.

In any case, black people's economic firepower has continually been questioned by marketeers advising their brands, so commercial stations rarely feature black content only output. Witness Capital's take over of Choice FM. The bottom line was money in changing the playlist to "urban". For right or wrong  reasons (many DJs remain h***ed off by this).

And newspaper after newspaper targeted at black people have folded e.g. Black Britain, though the reason are far more nuanced. (see Ethnic media)

A friend of mine Charles Amponsah wrote an article back in the day called: "Black people eat Cornflakes too", which somehow found its way into the Face magazine penned, more or less, by a different author.

And do you remember C4's Black on Black or BBC's Black London, which I worked on as a presenter producer. We had meagre resources. In fact that's where I first met Q in 1992. We were all looking to make our mark. Ozwald Boateng the designer, and the brilliant Fella Kuti expanding his UK audiences. BTW he came into the studio with a giant spliff  and no shoes and I had to beg him to not smoke, otherwise I'd get the sack. 

Various studies have also shown that young people don't watch TV. In the 90s I worked on one of the UK's cutting edge shows back then called Reportage. It averaged about 700,000 viewers. The Word and Normski's prog did marginally better. It was much more cool to Listen to Horizon on pirate, or Kiss before it became commercial. All those acid and warehouse parties :)

Broadcasting and main stream journalism could keep its secret of how poor they were doing in the analogue age because there was no (digital) Internet to challenge them. And when it did, they did what most business do by appropriating the bits that suit them for the audience, whilst still not acknowledging other constituents.

The Daily Mail ( I know, I know, but I'm making a point) gets a 134 million unique readers a month ( july). As long as that's paying the bills, Social may not mean nothing. If it ain't broke, as some say, why fix it.

Black people, Asians, and in particular the young have always created their own social networks - and yes the term social networks has been around for a long time.

Anywhere there's a minority against the power of the status quo people have gathered, have socialised, have looked for solutions.  B92 a young person's station during the Bosnia war, which carried non-propaganda news was one example.

Selling mix-tapes from the back of a car and at parties has been another model of pre-internet social. Kurtis Blow's ( 1st commercially successul rapper) We are the breaks got leverage from this. OMG I learned all the words to this when it came out.

But yes the idea of social networks has caught fire now, in the same way videojournalism that I practice can be traced back to the 60s, but has only now become popular because of the Net, social media which You Tube is one of the primary media outlets.

But back in the days, your Ozwald Boateng (we used to club together- where he would sell the idea of a suit to a celeb), Tribe called Quest, Qs used their talent and business acumen to build audiences -- their own networks.

The social bit is really interesting, particularly when you come across some bloke called Hobbs who in the 17th century stated people must come together and share. Obviously he didn't have the net, but what if eh?

The game changer has been the Net - firstly as a distribution mechanism with near zero costs. Pure commerce! But, secondly in nurturing what sociologists called the long tail of users.  and he low costs for programme making. 

Revolution is not videojournalism from david dunkley gyimah on Vimeo.

I'll use myself as an example. In 2002 I was freelancing at Channel 4 News. I'd previously gone to South Africa to live and find work. In 2004 I had an idea for a website which would use video. Everyone laughed, because in 2004 there was no such thing as You Tube, but I' d found a way to do it. Here's the original. It looks fairly puny from where we are now, but 2004 was a different world to today.

When the site was launched it gathered little attention in the UK, but its long tail  (aggregate of smaller groups coming together) in the US and elsewhere grew resulting in it winning one of the most prestigious awards in the US. The Internet became the game changer for others to see little pieces of work we made in our bedrooms.

Young people, whether it's the swinging 60s have always been beyond the status quo. Young people fashion the changes in cultures we see, whether its baggy-slinging thigh jeans, laceless Nikes or bellbottoms or stomping down to  the Cat in the Hat in the 80s/.90s, Legends near Saville Row or Dingwalls in Camden where Jazz spats where in vogue. 

The new wave that Social Media see, to others is remembered as the New Wave for the new style of filmmaking in the 60s that broke rank from conventional forms. The New Wave also became a term for the music scene of the 70s.

The New Wave strikes again

The Bourne supremacy's edgy style of filming comes from the 60s New Wave.  All artists want to do their stuff unmediated. Beyonce follows in a long line who want artistic integrity. James Brown and his King label. Fiddy, Q, Spike Lee, even little ol me.

In the 90s, I made a film from South Africa about the countries new black grads going places. I negotiated with a network, who liked the film. I satellited it to the UK, only to find out when it went out it was recut and re-voiced. I was furious. 

It took 6 months for an apology. So when I launched my site and made films from Ghana, Lebanon and what not, now I had control. Whatever direction it would take would not be predicated exclusively on some other person's point of view, particulary when I would be risking my safety.

It was great to see Beyonce stick her fingers up to the establishment and thus endorsing the DIY approach.  Remember when Prince wanted to release a batch of records and his label said no, so he changed his name. He too would later to the Net, but the coagulations of social networks had not fully taken shape. 

However,  other indies have used the Net to connect with their friends and fans too e.g. Linken Park, but you're right in where you're going. Beyonce's status gives the process a certain oomph. A global icon who has sashayed past the machinery of the music industry. Ouch ! ouch F****ing ouch!

Journalism, as I said, is not universal and it's always had its problems. Social Media theory comes on the back of other theories that have worked in practice, such as User Generated theory.  But Social Media too is not a one size fits all either.

Everyone has the potential to create their own social media network by talking to their new followers as friends, but Greenpeace's social network is different to Linkin Park's social network is different to your and mine, unless we share certain key values.

When I'm thinking about the film I could make of young blacks entering university and the struggles they face, there is a social media group whom I could connect with. However that same social group may not necessarily follow when I talk about the data scrapping, unless that is I make myself the narrative.

You're right too that. Rule #1: To navigate, one has to operate ‘light years ahead’ of the traffic in the super highway. That is innovation at its best.

Mainstream journalism is a huge juggernaut and does not innovate any time soon. It serves its audiences at the point of a critical need to change, but even then it will not, never, be able to match the nimbleness of individuals creating their own media -- only when that media serves their purpose.

Wide studies show that digital ecosystem is a platform, language, philosophy and ideology. The nice thing about the book featured above is it brings together a wide number of experts who shed light on various angles.

Digital has many stake holders and the brilliance is we can all make of it as we should, because for once the link, as you have proved between you dropping this message here and my decision to respond is without any mediating power. Your actions and successes become part of the digital narrative.

What digital is, is a pastiche of ideas, which aren't in themselves fixed. Your animated film is right, but so is TED, so is Q, so is ???? Knowledge as theory should be also tempered by practical knowledge of what works.

Twitter was supposed to be about ambient knowledge when it first launched. It'e become a successful tool for broadcasters to publicise their shows. 

It was the end bit of the animation that asked those crucial questions, having built a sound argument. That argument is necessary cuz we respond, but we are now freer to hear alternative points of view to build our own arguments. Digital frees us from the tyranny of corporatedom telling us what works, before they themselves e.g. Facebook become corporate and then digital users begin to find new cool things.

There's some interesting stuff ahead. For instance I can, in my lectures show, how 21st journalism can become cinema. The original word "cinema" was about seeing things and filming them and making them into narrative, but guess what happened, Hollywood changed its meaning to fictional film.

Social media is creating elite social mediast who theorise, but don't do. The US still wants to pursue net neutrality and break up the Net into fixed super highways. All good stuff for thought.

Thanks for your contribution, because ideas beget ideas. I have written this without any assumptions that I am preaching to the choir or that your views are not highly valid. They are and many of the things here you might hold the same views or disagree. That's all good. Debate brings about renewed meaning. In my case this post  gave me a window to write about stuff I know.

The new black is turning Kenya's tech industry upside down, is leading to new infrastructure and wealth generators from what George Ayittey (@ayittey) on Twitter calls Cheetahs. The new black returns with vigour to a scenario in the 1960s when Ghana's GDP was greater than North Korea, and the Chinese visited Ghana to understand how to drive business.

The Internet, supra media, social networks, cheetahs gives everyone the means and how. 

Anyone who's had to struggle to create and then finally do it share a common social network. Q; Ismahil who produced Bang Bang in Da Manor;  Henry Bonsu who was dropped by the BBC and now is director of the Colourful Radio;  TV presenter Trish Adudu;  you; the DJ connecting with new friends, and me and many others like the brilliant Thabo and Real Deal being managed by my bro Kienda, are also doing social in their ways. 

The real beauty with the concept of a 21st century social is it does not, as a media, turn off and embraces wider social behaviour. This blog has been writing about aspects of it since 2005 e.g. here

Q tell em how we were up till 2 a.m in the morning fixing something :)

Take care New Black.


Senior University Lecturer 
Alumni Prempeh College, Ghana.  (OH yes I wear the badge of my Ghanaian)
Creator Viewmagazine.tv

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Over to you from the BBC - Reporting Egypt, the African aspirational view and what to do next?

David Dunkley Gyimah at Aggrey House Prempeh College
I can see myself now, getting ready for lights off 9.30 p.m. and quietly turning the dial of my portable radio to the short wave of the BBC World Service. The din of the crickets suddenly became inaudible.

The photo above cryogenically preserves those moments. Memories as Barthes professed at photography's ability to evoke the past and present it to the future.

Today I listened to Richard Sambrook presenting Over to You at the BBC World Service and that special transatlantic relationship I developed came pouring back.

Years later I would freelance for the BBC World Service, whilst reporting from South Africa. Who would have guessed? Certainly not my dad because abandoning all efforts to become a doctor strained are relationship for 15 years. We never spoke. The media was no match for doctoring.

And if it means anything I took the sciences as far as I could in a BSc in Applied Chemistry before fulfilling an ambition.

Over to You
Richard's  programme touched on two areas I feel passionate about sharing.

Firstly, and it was the last piece on his show, an African rang in complaining that there was too much African material on the BBC World Service.

Over to You
Certainly when I listened to the World Service (WS) those years back, I confess I certainly wanted to be transported out of the dreary surroundings of Ghana's coup de tats and harsh standard of living.

Yesterday in my blog I spoke about journalism as a cultural construct, purloining American academic Michael Schudson's argument in the Power of News.

Africa is one of the BBC WS' most important regions. Letters from Nigerians and Ghanaians are a mainstay of the postbag. So it's reasonable to consider how reportage is geared towards the continent. The Africa Service, whichI freelanced for alongside Rageh Omar brings back fond memories, but this was about the WS in general.

The caller from on Over to You, sought from the BBC a window looking out onto the rest of the world. Is this cultural? Somehow, there's something in this. The media when I was in Ghana was in Vertov's words 'cinema' with its ability to transport me to new mental territories.

My sister today would hardly read the Voice Newspaper-- targted at Black readers  but give her the Daily Mail any day. Aspirational media and stories of celebs have more currency.  When I spoke about journalism and culture yesterday it was to advance the idea that audiences ask different questions about their journalism.

In this media below, I asked a group of my former Master students if they could change one thing, what would that be. Listen to Daniel Kofi from Ghana speaking about the media.

In 1997 we tested a hypothesis of Africa media with the first ever co-production between SABC and Ghana TV using videojournalism

The next segue then. Egypt and its reporting, which is by no means an easy feat. The country as Richard stated in Over to You is polarised and striking a balance in reportage is increasingly problematic.

Two areas struck me. How event-based journalism -- sort of dramatic cinema verite reportage brings to the listener news as it happens, but runs the risk of being interpreted as symbolic of a grand narrative.

The BBC's Middle East Editor Jeremy Bowen is one of the BBC's finest, but it's not his fault that the institution is not articulating the argument of the challenges of executing balanced reportage more effectively.

I interviewed a former BBC foreign editor last year. Vin Ray reminisced how during the Bosnian war when he was producing another big hitter reporter, replaying a context piece ever so often would have helped the audience understand the complexities of the war.

Over to You's much respected editor, Joanna Mills, missed an opportunity here to explain. These verite reports convey news' dramatis. As Robert Drew would have said, giving you the feeling of being there, but this is not a substitute, which the audience can be benignly ignorant of, for contextual themed reportage.

However, to the audience if it's on the BBC, it must have been thought through for its balance.

The Egyptian caller from Canada was suggesting the Brotherhood was monopolising the news and the BBC was not being as effective at countering this.  Editing is a nuanced job; it comes from years of experience and a feel of the audience, which is truly difficult in a social media age.

However, either the Brotherhood's PR machine is doing its job of staying in the headlines,  or difficult but transparent decisions could be arrived at by the BBC that limits their exposure and pursues wider contextual reportage. Otherwise is it fair to use the Net to solve the temporal fixed-amount-of-time problem?

Grand theories or otherwise universal themes will always be difficult. You couldn't please all the audience in the analogue age, whilst in digital, really! Good luck!

Last year at NewsXchange, professionals were advancing the idea of more metric-based data that would strengthen broadcast reportage. That needs to be considered. Meanwhile greater transparency with the listeners about the task faced could be aired.

The hegemonic model of news is only so because no one dare tinker with it, but is there an issue in a news bulletin to explain why today you're running a piece that does not take account of the Brotherhood.  Of course that opens up editorialising, which for the BBC's defence is what journalism does all the time.

The caller also stated a high percentage of the population were against the Brotherhood. If there was ever an opportunity to marry journalism with pragmatic academia this was it with the BBC commissioning its own poll to substantiate or disprove this.

Inside Egypt
Inside Nile TV making a documentary about journalism

Seven years ago, I was invited to train journalists, videojournalists in particular, at Nile TV - a job that continued up till 2011.

When I was invited back to speak at the Arab Summit earlier this year, my host explained. It wasn't that Egypt doesn't have a wealth of media, joined by online news sites, but that reporting had degenerated to internecine combat.

Being open about the intricacies of attempting grand narratives was something we discussed with the audience. It's a first step I believe the networks, in spite of all their might, could do.

Remember Dan Gilmor's oeuvre, which served as a manifesto for many traditional media in 2006.

Gilmor acknowledged his audience knew a lot and that he no longer had all, small "a", the answers.

Reporting in the Social Media age is problematic. Given the tools and fresh discourses, we journalists could do a better a job at explaining.

By the way, in response to my article yesterday, a promising social media networker Q has responded in a feature-length post here.

The original post I wrote can be found here.

Next week, how one of my posts in being featured in a popular publication concerning safety in filming in Syria. I share the experience of Master students at the BBC's hostile reporting event in November with my assignment near the Turkey- Syria border training videojournalists.

The footage has been made into a trailer and is part of my PhD submission on videojournalism with films I made in China, Tunisia, Egypt , US and South Africa

David Dunkley Gyimah runs the award winning viewmagazine.tv

Young people don't do journalism - a Social network shaker Q responds

Recently, Indie journo David posted in this blog about young people and journalism arguing young people did their own journalism. The day after  Q - a social network shaker responded with this. The piece has captured the attention of a wide number of people. You can follow Q here

David will be presenting at the International journalism festival on producing 21st century news story forms from his 6 year PhD research.


Q writes,  Go 2 the audience

I feel like a digital media snitch as I answer or add to this discussion, because, we would like to keep the mainstream or traditional hierarchical models of media power, believing they have relevance, which can only be to themselves, and their declining newspaper and journalistic industry.

Young people do journalism. Oh yes they do, by creating their own new models, raising their own bars of excellence and eliminating and reducing the traditional models.

I have to start by saying I have NEVER seen so many young people in the 15-30 demographic of all colours and creeds engaged and passionately making and shooting, their own content, even on smart
phones and uploading them online. I switched on twitter this morning and saw a discussion and said


TOP DOG AGENCY @topdogagency

@viewmagazine @digidickinson @DSLRinformer my basic question is: "What is news?" no I am being totally serious. "What is news?" because its vital 2 me 2 understanding journalism. if we don't value whatever the system, universities, journalists claim to be news. What is news?


After a bit of silence an answer finally came.


@topdogagency @viewmagazine @DSLRinformer my line is usually 'anything
that is topical and of interest to your target audience'

I replied (please note I have broken the 140 character twitter rule to condense the conversation. I have not changed or edited or punctuated my online grammar or language)


TOP DOG AGENCY @topdogagency

What if now in social media we find what is topical and of interest to our own target market and get financial news like Bloomberg. If we are online and can get culturally specific news from normal people do we need journos?

I mean traditional journalists were people we trusted to bring us news stories for a price. It is free now We can make our own. There is a lobby out there in social media world that feel we don't need traditional journalists/news anymore.

I better get 2 writing my article. Financial info is different. But I logged on 2 twitter 2 get my news from sources I trust.  when we old disenfranchised people look at traditional news/journalists. We say, with the Internet we don't need them anymore I shall put my case as to why trad. journalists and even some bloggers are not needed anymore in my article. GO 2 THE AUDIENCE


david dunkley gyimah @viewmagazine

@topdogagency Brill look forward to it. Dare say a few other journos may enjoy reading what the Socially Networked think


TOP DOG AGENCY ?@topdogagency

@viewmagazine It is not we think. It is what we had to do to survive. We had to eliminate and reduce their importance. The internet helped.


I asked the question What is news,  because I wanted to know how a journalist or his or my online community would answer.

Of course the news of a mother breaking the death of a family member to her son, I understand. The family member receiving the news trusts the messenger.

Why in this digital age should we trust traditional media? We had to eliminate and reduce the messenger's power and continual negative stories.

Traditionally, when the young black community switched on the news or opened papers or glanced online via traditional platforms. The news about them was always weighted against them. On the justice scales of light and dark, they were shown in the stereotypical dark.

I have to ask? Now, I know what a journalism lecturer and geek answer to the question ?What is news? was it news, is it news this because that was/is the only side of the black community that is topical or of interest to traditional white audiences by white owned media?

I am not going to snitch on these young black people and show or tell how they are creating in some areas companies and intellectual property worth a lot of capital. It should remain unseen and allowed to flourish.

If traditional media are out of touch, so be it. If they have the business sense to employ the black talent or buy out their enterprises that is an option for their growth and survival.

The young black people doing journalism online are not asking for acceptance. They know their audience, where to find them and create topical content of interest to their target audience in the UK and aboard via the internet thus crossing cultural boundaries and gaining new audiences, and creating an income at the same time.

I think this has been a direct result of institutional racism, and also the traditional hierarchical models, knowingly or unknowingly, upholding an injustice.

So we have to thank that old injustice #RIPMANDELA that has brought about out of need this new online content creation from young 15-30 black audiences.

The young have become creative online. Some feel in the traditional system, a lot of stories created by that traditional media was negative and stereotypical. With, no or very little good news.

So, with the aid of the Internet they have created an alternative, and can now be in control of their own stories and imaging, and get that to their own audiences.

They can also now decide the balance or weighting of a story with a good or bad light, and the checks or control on them is via the social platforms they are serving. If the audience doesn't like the content, it takes seconds for the content creators to be notified and contested. 

Of course within all of this there are online haters sitting behind keyboards that hate anything posted online. However, now the content creators are also the audience or very close to them this once again leads them to feel that they don't need the support of traditional media, which has misshaped and wrongly defined them in the past.

Also, one has to question the fact, why very few young people even read the traditional media and their journalistic stories?

In the case of movies, where in traditional media, a print and advertising backed campaign, for a movie, with a marketing budget can get a four star review in papers or an appearance by the star actor on a prime time TV chat show could mean a good opening weekend for the movie.

The young people don't care? or rarely see these reviews or chat shows, and if they do, are not moved to engage in a night out at the movies, leading to a box office flop.

If however, they see media created by social platforms they respect by content creators they trust, and their friends reinforce that on social media, they will engage in conversation and might even SHARE the good news to others.

The 15 - 30 demographic is vital to advertisers.

Dead Meat

Buy Dead Meat here

In my book Deadmeat, I talked about the commodification of the digital youth. However, young 15-30 year old black people are learning how to make money from their own online commodities and keeping the digital income, because they have their audiences.

I would like to finish with two stories.

I recently got a DM on twitter, from a journalist from the guardian newspaper, with a landline number to call.

I had previously introduced him to alleged gang members for a videojournalism story he was working on about stop and search.

These alleged gang members were from http://www.usgent.com the guys had provided music for my movie FEDZ, with other artists from various post codes and areas in the UK.

I had even got some of these guys into the channel four series TOP BOY, here is


Anyway, the journalist said, Hey, I was wondering where you think we should go next?

What do you mean? I asked.

With gangs, he said. What story should we do about them?

You're asking me?

Yes, because you know them?

Excuse me, I said. I am right in the middle of talking to my lawyer. Vimeo, just took down my site www.fedzmovie.com and we are talking to IAC, the parent company. I paused. Do you think I have got time to talk about gangs that don't exist as the media created them I have spoken to these guys, and do you know what they say to me about the media?

No,  he replied.

They say the media created gangs, they are just friends. One carnival a newspaper published a map of London with different colours in various boroughs and post codes, and named various gangs. 

The guys looked at this article, and were surprised because they saw themselves as friends, now they were suddenly pitted against guys they knew in other post codes. 

I added, alleged former gang members like Jay Z and 50 cent can turn themselves around. If Jay-z can stand next to Obama, chat with Prince Charles, why shouldn't these guys be given a chance? Why should they be continually demonised?

There was silence on the other end of the phone.

I continued. I have been on the phone to my lawyers, we are talking to Michael Cheah, the grand counsel of IAC, he reports directly to Barry Diller, do you know who they are?


Well, if you want that story, I will be happy to tell that and how we have made a hit from our indie movie FEDZ by finding our audience via social media, with no traditional press, radio, TV, and how we sold out Genesis Cinema and smashed the Vimeo server with VOD sales. 

To be honest I don't understand the fascination of middle aged white men,
with alleged gangs that don't exist. You have done very well? he said. But what we are looking for is ...

I cut into his sentence.

A story about a single mother, a gangster's moll living on an estate, with three kids by three different fathers, with a hungry bull dog. If you're not writing positive stories, good news, don't call me. We don't need you. We have our own media, our own audience.

OK He said.

HRH Prince Charles and Jay-z at Prince's Trust 

The point about this story is, he had no news and was obviously in the office trying to justify his wages and come up with something. He didn't get that something from me. 

However, it is so dangerous to have responsible journalists without a story, what will they publish the next day. Is that how those stereotypical stories get out there?

I started with a twitter conversation and I shall end with this twitter story, of course it is out of context, but echoes the message that young people do journalism. 

Oh yes they do, by creating their own new models, raising their own bars of excellence and eliminating and reducing the traditional models.

On twitter Chuck D said.

Chuck D@MrChuckD

I wish I could convey HipHop & Rap in 1977-1979 to y'all. Pictures, tapes, stories don't do the justice. NOTHING afterward compares to that era

Retweeted by TOP DOG AGENCY

My thoughts were like wow, look at what businesses and great products deals came from and are still coming from that industry. Like Jay Z's Samsung deal, I will include Beyonce?s surprise Christmas album as part of this, and the great music from a thousand other artists from 1977 to 2013
Later Chuck D said, and this is also out of context.

Chuck D@MrChuckD

Black youth NOT being taught Black culture & music history is a USA crime.Thus getting it from CORPlantation radio TV& records is criminal!

My reply was:

TOP DOG AGENCY ?@topdogagency

@MrChuckD I agree, however, I got all my news from PE. No, I got a good portion of my education from PE records. still do. #fightthepower

Take a look at the music promo

Public Enemy - Fight The Power

HipHop/Rap music have been the newspapers on the street, for years, that is where I got and still get my news, and business models. A lot of ish is spoken on these records, fuelled by competition and ego,
but, that is the same in any art form. 

However, there a lot of MC's/rappers who are great social commentators, great journalists, also, with social media, smart phones; instagram etc they are in control of their own propaganda/news, and it is online to be shared in a heartbeat.

We don't trust your traditional, hierarchical, unbalanced, racists media we got our own media.

Fight The Power Lyrics

Artist: Public Enemy (Buy Public Enemy CDs)
Album: Fear Of A Black Planet

Elvis was a hero to most
But he never meant ---- to me you see
Straight up racist that sucker was
Simple and plain
Mother---- him and John Wayne
Cause I'm Black and I'm proud
I'm ready and hyped plus I'm amped
Most of my heroes don't appear on no stamps
Sample a look back you look and find
Nothing but rednecks for 400 years if you check
Don't worry be happy
Was a number one jam
Damn if I say it you can slap me right here
(Get it) lets get this party started right
Right on, c'mon
What we got to say
Power to the people no delay
To make everybody see
In order to fight the powers that be

(Fight the Power)

If you can find the right artists like PE, a lot of sense and education is also there, and the hiphop/rap industry still continues imparting knowledge...

Jay-Z. Zane Lowe. Part 1: Magna Carta Holy Grail

Kanye West. Zane Lowe. Part 1.

Eminem. Zane Lowe. Part 1.

But I need to post this too

My Philosophy | Dame Dash Says Good Business Means More Problems (Part 2)

This why we are using the same models that have worked in America for FEDZ MOVIE and why the soundtrack and the music of UK hiphop helped us use social media to GO 2 THE AUDIENCE.

Watch http://www.fedzmovie.com  DVD/BLU-RAY/CD MUSIC SCORE AND FREE


David filmin Lennox' training in the Pocono Mountains before his fight with Tyson

This piece by Q has proven to be a hugely successful from a wide constituent. To read the piece Q responded to written by David  ( An indie videojournalist at viewmagazine.tv and one time Team Lennox Lewis' videojournalist)  go here.