Monday, March 31, 2014

International Journalism Festival: David Dunkley Gyimah presentation of future of videijournalism

How do you update a 60-year-old television news story form, news professionals refer to as the news package? If we acknowledge language evolves over time and video journalism is a form of language, how has video journalism evolved?

In his 6-year global doctorate research, International award winning video journalist David Dunkley Gyimah  unveils his findings that show what audiences are appreciating and exemplar video journalists are producing.

In 2005, before Youtube David showed how embedded video within the body of an article was a game changer online. This and his work in viewmagazine.tv won him the Knight Batten Award for Innovation in Journalism.

In his latest work he focuses on how in a digital age awash with video, experts are making their products distinguishable from others and concludes by challenging current conventional thinking about what constitutes videojournalism.  

David Dunkley Gyimah is a senior lecturer at the University of Westminster. He has previously worked for BBC Newsnight, Channel 4 News and ABC News South Africa. He was one of the UK's first videojournalists. This year he was the chair of jurors for the RTS innovative news category. He completes his PhD at UCD this year. He is presents at the International Journalism Festival


Sunday, March 30, 2014

Standing on the shoulders of giants rewriting Television News - a moving story


We stand on the shoulders of giants. In this case Ken Mallor with a microphone standing outside No 10 Downing street. It is the golden age of the crew.



In the age of plenty, where everyone is an expert, it's often difficult to separate spectrums of tacit knowledge, opinion and expert knowledge.

That is unless you come across a giant like Ken, who has lived through the arguments regularly wheeled out on the net when discussing television news.

For instance, as uber thinker Jeff Jarvis asks recently in a post, what's the point of the television stand-up?  This may seem like a puerile question to those who believe there is an obvious answer.  

Yet, if you've not worked, studied or critiqued the form professionally e.g. Jarvis, what you might end up is transient knowledge,  anecdotes and second hand material. 

Not Ken, and his is a touching story I'd like to share. 



You know Television - How?

Ken knows television, just as Bo knows football (famous 1980s ad). Ken started with ITN in the 1960s as a soundman, and armed with a stills camera took countless photos of that era.

Now at this point you're likely to think what the 1960s has to do with modern digital TV and the world. Well, everything.

Mallor saw how TV evolved. He even remembers how a miffed reporter tired of getting his stand-ups/ PTC chopped  because ITN had ran out of time, decided to put the stand-ups in the middle.

The stand-up, by the way, was television's answer to taking on cinema. TV and cinema could both make extraordinary films, but hey, television could create "live".

Reportage ITV's London Tonight from david dunkley gyimah on Vimeo.
I'm reporting for ITV's London Tonight in the 1999s, trying to add something to the Stand-up

In some of the first presidential elections filmed in the US in the 1950s, and the coronation of the HRH in the UK, the presence of a live reporter was one in the jacksy for TV.

At ITN, the bridge was born. The networks could no longer cut out the reporter. If anything following the inverted pyramid model of newspapers, the editors would still cut 15 seconds of the end of the report, but the reporter was safe.

How do you know what you know about TV? Many of us read books, lots of them. But the problem with books is you can't interrogate the author, but then you find a living book like Ken.

Five years ago I put a note in the UK industry magazine belonging to BECTU. Ken Mallor answered my email.

He knew TV because he was there and over the five years has selflessly fed me with information that has startled and shocked me.

I was so enamoured with Ken, his pictures he sent me, the information he has retained; he is a young 80-something year old, that I mentioned in passing that he had a book in him.

A year ago, he sent me a forward for a book, he was about to publish, and in that forward was a thank you to David Dunkley Gyimah - me. Why? I shook my head in disbelief.

Somehow I was one of the catalysts to him publishing. I was flabbergasted.

This morning Ken emailed to ask if he could send me a copy, and if I wanted it sighed. Yes bloody please.

I don't deserve the mention. It was ken's selflessness that has got me to the last mile of a PhD which questions the style, form and existence of TV. 


David with nAlbert Maysles
I have been hugely lucky Ken and several others more than 100 experts have contributed to this thesis, such as the original team behind cinema verite. It is their words on display, which I have threaded into hopefully a coherent narrative.

In the thesis there is the mother of all howlers which turns common knowledge over so much, that scores of articles will have to be rewritten.

What a bloke Ken is. If you thought the idea of social was born with web 2.0, Ken shows it was alive and well and for many characteristics like this, and to him, I salute Ken.

I receive the book this week. Wow!

End
Yesterday's post, as London gets ready to launch its second 24-hour network, I provide an insight into what could go wrong and right, based on working for London's 1st 24-hour network.
Blog author David Dunkley Gyimah, as a videojournalist and occasional newsreader at Channel One. Videojournalism was more than the sum of news' individual productions


David Dunkley Gyimah is a senior lecturer at the University of Westminster. He is the recipient of International awards in videojournalism and the Knight Batten for innovation in journalism for his work on viewmagazine.tv. This year he was the chair of jurors for the RTS innovative news category. He completes his PhD at UCD this year. He is next presenting at the International Festival of Journalism inPerugia next month




Friday, March 28, 2014

How to launch a 24-hour station live in London - an expert editorial




London Live, which launches next week, will be a success writes former Newsnight and Channel 4 Producer, and Knight Batten Winner David Dunkley Gyimah

David will be presenting at the international journalism festival (april 30th 2014) on producing a radically different approach to 21st century news story forms from his 6-year-PhD research. (See what Apple say)

------------------------------------------


 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------


Success for Londonlive however depends on how you measure success. At the very least the channel will introduce us to the next generation of TV stars and journalists, who can expect to be poached by the networks. Whether it will make good on its estimates of returns, at £25m, as highlighted in Greenslade’s Guardian article is a difficult one.

The degrees of excitement and mix of fear is palpable as the station nears its last countdown.  Some twenty years ago this November, 30 young journalists, including myself, experienced similar excitement. The article above from 1994 reads:

"150 people will have worked themselves up to that pitch of excitement which comes with  new TV channel Launch."


We were part of a newly launched station called Channel One, ironically owned by the Evening Standard, though in 1994 it was under different management then. Today, some of those Channel One’s graduates are household names or  respected industry  figures e.g. Chris Hollins on BBC Watchdog.




Channel One launched with the drums rolling to a newly acquired discipline called Videojournalism heralding a new beginning in storytelling. Before then there had been no documentation of videojournalism as self-shooting/storytellers in the UK, until an advertisement appeared in the Guardian in November 1993.

From the euphoria of its launch, to the hard reality of the keeping the dynamism afloat, Channel One lasted four years. Its little known legacy to videojournalism, multiskilling and trying to rewrite the rules of news hides a rich pedagogical history of successes and failures.

If you knew, in hindsight how to launch a 24-hour London station, would you not want to know how it ticked with Londoners?



Launching a 24-hour Network in London


The similarities between Channel One and LondonLive are evident, if not unfair. In my research I make no direct comparison. How could I? So it would be unwise to rely on trend or comparative analysis to compare the two. They are entirely different animals – in many ways, but share attributes.

For instance, Channel One started of London-based, LondonLive is based in London. Both recruited young media workers with diverse backgrounds. 

Channel One sought to rely on cross-pollination of broadcast and print journalism, which Londonlive sees as being its strong suit, and whilst LondonLive looks to spend 14m a year, Channel One, according to its Managing Director Julian Aston, spent 12m a year.

Channel One was spending a £1m a month. When you break down £12m, it can only buy you so much, even though Channel One was instrumental in driving down costs. Documentary forms normally costing £20, 000 were slashed to £5000 and less. 

With that kind of squeaky-tight budget, being innovative comes with the purse strings.  A reality check, however is how Channel One and LondonLive inhabit different social, technological and cultural ecologies.
Channel One launched during the nascent period of the Internet, and a burgeoning cable system that promised so much but never delivered.

Londonlive launches in the ferociously competitive world of digital, where  anyone’s a publisher, and young audiences have no allegiance to a brand, for brand sake. In digital, hyperlocal outfits and newspaper groups have proved they can amass viewers with the appropriate strategy. 

Premium information, which is free and readily sharable, as the Guardian explained its strategy at its Media Summit 2014 appears to be the name of the game, thus far. Green shoots indicating audiences will buy content appear to be breaking ground.

Videojournalism appeared to be the panacea for Channel One, and similarly has been lauded by LondonLive. The research I have conducted illustrates an interesting phenomenon regarding what constitutes videojournalism. 

A person with a camera who shoots and reports? Not really, there exist a matrix of issues that frame the form and hence, importantly, what you get from videojournalism. Otherwise, there is little distinction between one-man bands and videojournalism, and hence the final product.

In 2005 and 2006, when I was asked if I could help launch the Press Association’s Videojournalism programme, one of the hurdles to overcome was to reboot videojournalism from its predictable offerings. 

In my research I interviewed scores of newspaper videojournalists to uncover what worked and what didn’t. Then I took that study globally, and some interesting patterns emerged.

Like, Greenslade and I would like to see LondonLive succeed. The ingredients, the environment, the wherewithal exist. But for me the truly interesting apsect is whether LondonLive will kickstart the next TV evolution by producing a new form of television, or television news for that matter, or deliver credible programmes in the television we all know.


Presenting the new language of videojournalism at the International Festival of Journalism



Television teaches its audiences the grammar they need to decode ad enjoy programmes. Play it safe in a competitive environment and you’ll win audiences, but become indistinguishable in brand identity.  Opt for innovation and you have to ask the question, what’s your staying power?  

 Firstly, the audience needs time to understand what you’re doing, and TV like the premier league gives it managers too little time to show how bold they can be. Secondly, if you are looking to reinvent the wheel, how do you maintain this? 

Television, like newspapers, breed spoilers and copycats. If you're successful, the other side raises the stakes by pouring in more money into their venture (Sky vs BBC). Or otherwise stealing the talent team. That's the threat LondonLive faces. £14m a year soon become £24m to safeguard ideas. It's a poker game you win by looking nonchalant with your chips.

Television, according to a former Channel One producer Julian Phillips, who became a BBC executive, requires teams of innovative collaborators to continually test ideas and probe for distinctiveness. 

Greenslade, who contributed to an article on Channel One two decades ago points to a discursive behaviour pattern amongst Londoners, why local television doesn’t work. 

Kelvin Mackenzie put put it another way saying: 
"A house fire in Peckham is of no interest to people in Ealing. In fact they would be secretly pleased".

Unlike the US, where cable and independent programme making is a billion dollar industry, with big profits at stake, in London that market place is yet to break.

Londonlive however could prove everyone wrong.

+
END





Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Getting into your pocket - Changing media Summit @Guardian

Comments from the session of the Guardian Media Summit. - the memorable bits



We want your money. But we're having a pretty damn hard time deciding how to do that.

We've tried web ads. You're all ignoring us.

We're going after you via moble, but we know it's not working, as well as it should. 

 But you don't like it when I ping you ads everyday cuz you visited Amazon. Wait a minute actually Amazon's ok cuz you can inform the level of granularity. That sell was a gift so stop targeting me, so don't hit me up again.

Lori Cunningham from the telegraph believes in value ads. We know what our users want. But value added for the advertisers or the consumer?

Who cares? Well a question from the floor said users are getting more savvy and will eventually turn off from ads that target them. [ heard this before]

Furthermore, what the *** do you mean by Value-added? Hayes says it's got to do with emotional engagement. And what does  emotional engagement mean??  

The metrics seems to clear by Haye's standard, but I am still loss. 

One thing emotional engagement is not directly proportional to clicks and shares via social. See this Times Piece. Total Time Read on a page is one of the new metrics. But how does the Ad lot measure that?

Paradox from punter. You want the ads, sometimes, particularly according to Ben Huh from cheezeburger if they're funny, but you don't want that ad bots knowing everything about you.

Programmatic ads therefore suck. What should work is personalisation, which according to Paul Hayes from  News UK, is the way it's going. He quoted the daddy of big data, Tesco's Sir Terry Leahy. Leady was behind Tesco's successful club card

Question from the floor. The implications that ads are losing huge revenue cuz no one's clicking. So do you go down the route of the Guardian and have your data open and share or do you continue with pay wall model?

Prognosis after the session. It's a confused market. No one has the answer. The metric works for specifics groups, based on sociological and Tech reasons until something else comes along with another./

Lively session, none the less curated by Jeff Jarvis. 

Buzzwords of the session: Subject-experts. Editors are needed because they are subject-experts!

Monday, March 17, 2014

International: A British journalism and video affair


This is journalism, as a very British affair. Cue: Rule Britannia.

It may have an international reach, might even be undertaken by an internationalist, with a global view, but ultimately it emanates from a particular place, these shores, with a British sensibility.

There's no point arguing. 

For instance, when the British wanted to enhance their news filmic storytelling in the 1960s, when the world was swallowing new great ideas far more significant than today by the measure of some scholars, they turned to America.

ITN's Cox saw something about what NBC's news pioneer Frank Reuven was doing. His 'aha' moment was this:

"After studying the half-hour bulletins transmitted by the three American networks and examining their newsroom organisations I am convinced that not only will ITN take the half-hour bulletin in its stride, but will produce a better, more varied and flexible show than either CBS, NBC or ABC."
British journalism in the making ,1967, using an Auricon camera

So today the news story form from the Brits has a significantly different proposition to the Americans. Better? Well, that's business hyperbole; by whose standards? 


Fifty years later, this time the Americans would look across stream for their aha moment. Last year NBC hired its first President of News who was a woman (several men had glass in their shirt collars), but, also a Brit.

The French speaking, MBA-shaped, dynamic Deborah Turness was also the first woman editor for ITN. 

Among many things, she is doing a very British affair in journalism in the US at the moment. 

When she tells her staff, I want the "Queen on the loo" stories, the reference is piquantly British. It means searching for those impossible stories.  Ur hum, "loo" is bathroom, the actual porcelain we sit on [TMI].  More on Turness in a minute.



British Media Summit.

Tomorrow I attend the Guardian Media Summit 2014. A stellar line-up as always, The Guardian, an internationalist, but very British newspaper presents...

keynote panel: Digital content in a mobile-first world



As the opening key note, it features the erudite US Jeff Jarvis as moderator with a nice line-up of a British knowledge.
Vincent Blaney, European brand director – media & digital,  Millward Brown
Lori Cunningham
, director of digital strategy and revenue, Telegraph Media Group

Paul Hayes
, managing director, News UK Commercial

Ben Huh
, founder, Cheezburger and Circa

Robert Picard
, director, Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, University of Oxford

It's not a controversial point, and I am not being jingoistic. Attendants will, for instance, hear how the Telegraph accomplished its aims. Jarvis' guile, knowledge and being from the US gives him a perspective in perceiving what others, perhaps, will not.

In fact, the two left to their own could indulge in that transatlantic pursuit, "You say tomato, I say tomato". The  point which I'll crystallise fully in a moment, is that there is no international standard to journalism. No one way of doing something.

An international view, yes, perhaps, but the vibrancy of journalism, its sociology, is still made fascinating, by how other people in different countries do things. And how they just might work elsewhere.

As my Masters  students research in Online Journalism showed last week, people who read the Telegraph online are likely to have £100,000 tucked away in savings. Betcha you never considered that as part of your strategy.


Searching for Utopian Journalism

Journalism, as a construct, is exciting by the new ideas, from yonder that shape it where it's being debated at source. 

The Internet may have connected us as friends and family by Facebook, but Brits still dunk their biscuits in sugared, milked tea, much to the opprobrium of the French, and Americans. Thanks for the video Joey on how we Brits love cream in our tea.

And sometimes, our search for a journalism of the 21st century requires a "why" question, from a point and place, that might often be overlooked, and considered too puerile.

We constantly intellectualise media and journalism, with searches for Neo's media Matrix that it's almost impossible not to think why we shouldn't debate things like, how having our own personal satellites, will necessitate an evil twin as gateways. p.s you really need to read the last link and yes the personal satellites was the idea of another much respected news maker.

A former Master student of mine asked a basic question. Why does British Journalism engage itself in ruin, rather than advocacy to effect change. If knowledge is power, how is it endlessly used to pursue a pop star's downfall, when searing concentrated attention on politics e.g. Crimea might have more of an impact.

Remember in the 90s when all the websites turned their screens blank in protest or Wiki went offline for a while. What if all the newscasts in the world, showed the same news condemning what was happening in Crimea for 24 hours. Solidarity, yes! Silly,  and impracticable you might think too. Journalism means different things to all.


So back to Turness. Turness contributes to another sensibility of Britishness - my PhD.

A theoretical and practical document, which examines an emergent, powerful 21st century form of journalism and video form which is not yet public access. Though it lurks  under the radar.

For the last six years, double-bent over a Mac, or positioned in any number of areas: 

  • Inside ITN's archive vault - examining their media and archive as film
  • filming near the Syrian border where young filmmakers spoke about their influences and how they set about storytelling. Many risked their lives daily, which I have made into a self-contained film.
  • using my background and expertise to interview experts and observe the best of what the British do, such as Turness, and scores of other talented journalists.


I have been picking at the seams of this knowledge, contorting myself in knots many times, and awakening in moments of clarity to bash out another 5000 words.

Yesterday, culling 6000 words, 97,726 words finally stared at me from the screens. I am exhausted and it still needs to pass through the channels of academia, so in respect of that process I can't talk about its exact contents.

However, I can frame its general ideas. Firstly, there is no such thing as a universal form of video with journalism. Nope, sorry it doesn't exist. If you've been searching for it, breath a sigh of relief. That's my 3000 words of the thesis. 

And far from dancing on the head of the pin, what I write about for 30 percent of the time is a very British affair  - acknowledging a form of journalism which emerged in the 90s, then (sphew!) disappeared.

Does that matter? Well, it's a bit like an archaeologist stumbling across findings  e.g. Ötzi the iceman and realising that, hey wait a minute so we got that wrong. Because what followed afterwards, was a direction by powerful media forces that reverted to the tried and tested tradition.

By way of analogy, if Twitter and Facebook had been devised by traditional media, they would have used to to publicise their running orders to their own journalists in the field.  Just as well then!  But that's what happened in video news storyform.

This exhaustive research has had its moments. A couple of examples.

What connects this figure below, as a reporter twenty years ago, with this BAFTA award winning film, The Imposter?
 
Dimtri of Raw TV






And the connection to this photojournalist, whose day job was a British Editor, who was the top of his game with GMTV during the Gulf War, who helped the BBC comprehend videojournalism?




These two and 28 others were part of an informal movement, ( an experiment by default) chosen from 3000 applicants. Illustrated in the below figure. For every person chose, 100 people were considered. 



So what was it that defined the group and how has it been that they have been able to tap into innovative behaviour?

I'll shed some light on that in the coming days. How the research took three critical strands to investigate innovative form of  journalism, and how it commenced  following events in 2005, and 2006, when I recieved: The knight Batten Awards and International Videojournalism Awards

It wasn't the awards per se, but what happened next with dialogues between groups and individuals.



   
 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Stealth techniques of audience attention (dis) order



"She woke at midnight, She always woke up then without having to rely on an alarm clock. A wish that had taken root in her awoke her with great accuracy".

 "I stare up through the gaps in the sea-grass parasol at the bluest of skies, summer blue, Mediterranean blue, with a contented sigh. Christian is beside me, stretched out on a sun lounge". 

A rough calculation of the first text puts it at around 500,000 words. The second estimated at 120,000. The first - an opening para comes from Naguib Mahfouz ( wait..wait), the only winner of the Nobel Prize for literature for Cairo Trilogy, with an Arabic heritage.

The second para is lifted from the raunchy read: Fifty Shades, the sequel to Fifty Shades of Grey.

It's all in the opening para, yet how much we forget that.  

Technological fecundity and a fetishism that determines how a human's GDP is determined.

Oh you didn't know. It's  how many times you tweet divided by how many new followers you gain. I didn't know that either  -- I was just told.

But the point I'm making is the art of the opening is a diminishing concern.

So you follow a lead from a tweet to a blog, and within the space of three seconds decide, I'll pass. Something about the opening and the turgid lines of sentences that followed.

Film scholars know it as the 'initiating incident', to literary writers, it's in media res, which generally means in the middle. 

You the reader are planted in the middle of that thing. If its drama is compelling, human curiosity seeks closure. You'll continue to read. 

Those newly weds consummating in a free fall parachute dive, is at the end of this text ( sorry, human curiosity. Closure. My point)

Both cinema and literary devices are just as valid in blogs as they are in  videojournalism, which describes why, the formula about what durations worked on line, were in fact myths.

The simple test for you, me  and the audience, is, if your first para couldn't pull you off watching True Detectives, why should it pull anyone else.












Sunday, March 09, 2014

The Art of a New Journalism

Publicity photos: 12 Years a Slave by Jaap Buitendijk - Fox Searchlight Pictures


Imagine this as a hypothetical. A newsroom gets wind of Solomon's artistry and wants to record his story writes David Dunkley Gyimah. 

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

------------------------------------------


------------------------------------------

Solomon's story has been done many times in some way in contemporary [rags to riches] news stories.

They send a reporter and after much hair preening, their camera operator sets about to record pictures. If luck is on the camera operator's side, they might get this shot.

Might? Because the beautification of the image is something either a news team might ignore, or not likely seek out.  It is after all, a news film --as if news films are preordained to be shot in a particular way. 

The camera operator working with her reporter will have to figure out blocking. That is where to place the camera in relation to actors to get this symmetrically weighted shot.

It is an intimate scene, so to capture this mood, the operator would have to play with the lens. Not too much light and the focal plane is approaching a deep focus shot. We can just about see the figures with a degree of clarity behind Solomon.  If the camera was on a standard tripod, then its extended by half its height.

And the reporting team, ought to hurry up before the shot decomposes, which begs another question, what's about to happen next which promotes the "cause and effect" sequence.

He is seated. He is listening. His actions have a cause. What is the effect? Cut to something else!


There's a high probability the team would miss this shot, though it's likely a large swathe of pictures will feature the reporter in shot. That after all is the language of news ! Or is it?

But how would you get this shot and what difference does it make?

I'm at the tail end of six years of research into story form, and from my  results, I have made this illustration.






Most people who work in news occupy the centre circle. They have sensibilities towards the other genres. They admire a Rembrandt, when they see one, but what has that got to do with news -- what they do?

The Artists and Cineist see the same story matrix as the news team, but see something different. The see the thing that cognitively strikes the audience's sense of reception.

The thing that makes you recall what you saw and heard.

The Artists and Cineist see a swamp, with kids panning for gold and take this shot.
Courtesy of Yannis Kontos

The traditional newsmaker may miss this shot, or Solomon's because of the deficiency in seeing cinema and art, or otherwise that they lack the theory.  I observed this recently in a network news story from Syria.

This deficiency stems from our education. We are taught to read a book, but not so vigorously how to read art or moving images.

This photo below taken when I was taking a break from lecturing/ presenting in China illustrates the several theories, artist/ journalists engage with either unwittingly or overtly.



In the first few seconds of seeing the scene, all practitioners go through a "journey of ideas and discovery", TV news or otherwise. But those in the art cinema circle engage with film theory, digital theory, artistic theory etc. and synthesis different possibilities.

12 Years a Slave
12 Years a Slave is based on a true story, and its theme persists as McQueen reminded the audience at his Oscar reception speech [see Kontos photo above]. 

So, a modern day 12 Years could be told, but why won't you ever see something like this in news or traditional docs?

You're probably thinking, what a stupid question. This is cinema, and news is news.

So my next question to you is, what do you mean this is cinema, and what do you mean news is news?

You'll likely deliver an answer. But my next question is so how do you know what you know?  This is where it gets interesting, because for the last six years this vexed question of, that's cinema and that's news, has been the focus my findings.

It could be that I'm ignorant of the way news works, but I have spent several years in news working with Channel 4, BBC, ABC News ( South Africa) and WTN - either freelancing or contract.



News is a construct. Simply put. First there was art, then through a combination of factors was fashioned TV News -- a curtailed industrial Ford-like mechanism to create a story.  

Like Ford's production line it works perfectly, until... 



Reviews
The reviews to 12 Years from cinema goers on Fox Searchlight makes for a further interesting case in my investigation.



"HORRIBLE. I was not prepared for the violence and hopelessness. I walked out".

This was a common comment. We've become inured to violence of a kind in news that is censored, or movies where its so theatrical e.g. explosions, that raw unmitigated violence unsettles us. Cinema after all is supposed to be a pleasurable excursion.

But McQueen has done something, which is his métier, that may alter cinema and also reflects in several case studies in my thesis, that our notions of acceptability is being pushed.

Often, irrespective of the audience's appetite, it is the perceived realism of the director seeking the truth, which attempts to set the tone. Remember the Passion of Christ and its inescapable brutal scenes.

Studios want to placate audiences by delivering for the focus groups, but there are directors, particularly from independent art cinema, that push to create experiences that don't pull their punches.


If the text's says a man was garroted, this is how it happened. The news versus cinema is one I'm intimately privy to. Four years ago, I was appointed as artist-in-residence at London's Southbank Centre.

The premise by which Jude Kelly OBE, the Southbank's Artistic Director appointed me was that news and cinema could merge. It was quite possible, we discussed, for something of news value to be created as cinema. But to do so required an appreciation of both forms from the artist.

To create the above scene, McQueen set up the shot, but it's likely he had in mind, as stated on previous films, Renaissance painters. In this case Caravaggio and Rembrandt.








In other words an appreciation of the works of these artists would provide the camera operator with the schema to capture Solomon's scene if they were to come across it - as news.

And what herein is the point of news as cinema?

Cinema is realism. It exists but requires a trained eye to find it. And when found, we don't easily forget it. It is an indelible product seared on our minds. It creates a lasting impression on us. It allows for anything and everything to be in our view finder. It is in everyday life ( read Jean Rouch and Vertov). It is the product of unlimited aesthetics, but it differs from the televisual.

Not to be confused by the images with fidelity, which alludes to the cinemacity, cinema is an all together more complex paradoxical product. It's job is to capture, as to provoke.

That is after all what news does, or should do, particularly seen from lens of an artist. 

I'll be presenting more of my findings from my six-year doctorate research in Perugia and the International Journalism Festival.















At Perugia, I'll be showing my cinema news film We Are Syria.