Art and Technology — I pick you Technology, says Journalism

My talk at London SouthBank University on the 4th May, as part of a panel of storytellers and academics

I’ll open with a brief clip I recorded at the China Expo (above) on what the Internet/email will be in the future. My talk will refocus Brian Winston’s idea of the supervening social necessity (Winston, 1998). My argument is that whilst technologies like: Ocular, 360, Mobile, and Drone have done much to excite us in TV and video journalism, the possibilities of artistic schemas into breaking fresh narrative forms can often be neglected, in place of delivering processes and formalism(1).

McLuhan (1964) asks, ‘If men were able to be convinced that art is precise advance knowledge of how to cope with the psychic and social consequences of the next technology, would they all become artists? Or would they begin a careful translation of new art forms into social navigation charts?’(p. 71).

Video journalism has generally been posited as a one size-fits-all framed from, perhaps obviously, a Western narrative perspective, emphasising a fixed narrative model. This has consequences, for instance, how practitioners tell stories, choose subjects and frame issues such as diversity. It also renders the form invariably impotent against Public Relations’ schema e.g. Lynton Crosby’s ‘dead cat’ - emotional contents vs rational enterprise c.f. Packard Vance.

I’ll present the practice ‘Artistic Videojournalism’ and ‘Cinema Journalism’, which addresses a wider cognitive palette for innovation and creativity in video journalism and Net journalism (see Bradshaw & Rohumaa (2013, p.106 ); Sterling & Lewis (2009, p 1423) and The Documentary Handbook in which the author Peter Lee-Wright writes that ‘His [Gyimah’s] conception of video-journalism stands in start contrast to the newspapers and broadcasters who see VJs as cheap alternative to crews and traditional work practices’ (p.44).

Bradshaw, P., & Rohumaa, L. (2013). The online journalism handbook: skills to survive and thrive in the digital age. London: Routledge.

Lee-Wright, P. (2009). The documentary handbook. London: Routledge.

McLuhan, M. (1964). Understanding media. New York: Mentor Books

Sterling, C. H., & Lewis, G. (2009). Encyclopedia of journalism. 6. Appendices. London:Sage.

Winston, B., 1998. Media technology and society: a history: from the telegraph to the Internet. London: Psychology Press.


  1. Have you noticed how journalism has been atomised by businesses to sell a sortie of forms? Cinema uses cranes, helicopters and data, but you won’t find Cinema drone, cinema data etc as forms. Perverse eh? The industry did the same to videojournalism in the 1990s sniffing opportunities to create business models, when from the get-go of videojournalism we established that it was susceptible to using anything to achieve its aims, even mobile. BTW the term mobile journalism was coined in the 1960s by the father of Direct Cinema, the late Robert Drew. He was the first in the US to miniaturise a camera so it could be used off a tripod.
  2. This abstract addresses the ecology of how we’ve framed journalism, rather than the wider spectrum of storytelling. It is applicable in so far as employing cinema, which is based on myth, but the abstract is not written to focus on the wider schema of storytelling.

David Dunkley Gyimah’s (PhD) specialism is in videojournalism and variegated story forms in art, digital forms and multicultural audiences’ reception via semiotics and cognitive practices. He is an artist in residence at the Southbank Centre with a 27 year background in news journalism e.g. BBC, Ch4 etc. His passion is learning about new ideas, cultural forms, and tech from a degree in Chemistry and Maths. He teaches docs and online (Interactive Factuals) to International MAs at the University of Westminster. He’s the recipient of a number of awards. His PhD is from University College Dublin

Top Writer & Creative Technologist, Int. Award Winner. Cinemajournalist. Cardiff Uni @jomec. PhD (Dublin). Visiting Prof UBC, Ex BBC/C4News. Apple profiled.

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