A Jack of all Trades and Master of all: The Thirty Chapter IV
It couldn’t be done, the industry said with amusement. You can’t possibly shoot pictures and listen to sound at the same time, and whatever else. Today, we may take that for granted, but the ego of The Thirty, the first UK videojournalists assumed all journalism was within their cross hair.
It would make them eminently employable, but also cursed. For many years, several group members hid their association with videojournalism to fend of claims of amateurism about their work. Others saw things, understood so deeply the psychology of media and audiences, were so far above the norm, that TV executives didn’t get them. Their souls, creativity, work ethic remained unfulfilled.
On October 21st 2013, my good friend and former VJ Steve Punter, would literally write his last post on Facebook before taking his life. He wrote.
After nearly 20 years
In and out
I will come out of this door
for the last time
Sometime after 11 o clock
Hope she misses me
When I am gone
It’s been fun
In 1998, The Thirty had become many more, but the physical repository of their creativity, Channel One was to close down. Videojournalism would be revived at the BBC three years later, but with significant changes. What you may know as videojournalism today comes from a pared down use of the form, reworked by leading broadcasters, the BBC,CNN and others.
But its spirit of the Jack of all trades and aspiring to be the master of all lived on, somewhat disparately. The Net would spawn different styles of journalism some genuine, others constituted new businesses getting on the act.
But amongst the exemplars, patterns could be observed. Yes, they could do many things, but the manner in which they produced media had a quality it to it. Their stories, the way they used sequences, narration, dramaturgy, characterisation, post human editing, to an audience looked like something other than news journalism, and it was winning awards. The only rules, were there were no rules, it was about understanding the audience and re-representing meaning for them.
There are many whom I’ve had the privilege to meet. To list them would take me a while, so if you’ll forgive me, I’ll talk about a person who’s passionate about this, and was judged by others — me.
Next up, a personal portfolio of Cinema Journalism