The act of one person filming, reporting and editing a story for news is mainly referred to as videojournalism. It has become one of the most ubiquitous and lucrative newsgathering practices in the world to broadcasters and publishers.
But through original research, multiple-award winning videojournalist, Dr David Dunkley Gyimah questions this generic and limiting understanding of videojournalism, claiming it has stunted innovation and creativity within news storytelling and that it’s the consumer who’s being shortchanged. Events can easily be forgotten, they rarely are memorable and can fail to affect viewers in ways that could impact changes in behaviour and society.
Self-camera operating newsmakers and ‘One Man Bands’ have been around since the dawn of film as news. Jessica Borthwick, an ambitious 24-year-old British woman with three days camera training set off to cover the Balkan War in 1912. So what makes videojournalism so misunderstood, yet at the same time a powerful means of storytelling which hitherto is not being utilised on a wide scale in a critical manner.
In this book, Cinema Journalism, Dr Dunkley Gyimah creates a compelling story from interviewing a diverse range of experts and original practitioners, such as Britain’s first officially recognised videojournalists and thought leaders from the UK’s first 24-hour cable news station Channel One (1994–1998).
He also uses his own personal history growing up in different cultures, being one of the first thirty official videojournalists in the UK, and winning international awards, such as the coveted Knight Batten Awards for Innovation in Journalism. In 2005 he set up the UK’s first videojournalism training for British regional newspapers with the Press Association.
Dr Dunkley Gyimah uncovers how videojournalism was conceived as a radical departure in form and style from conventional news by the promulgation, as well as mixing of ideas between its US pioneer Michael Rosenblum and UK TV executives e.g. Nick Pollard. Furthermore, the clash of policies, differing ideologies and technologies coupled with the individuality of the first videojournalists often yielded creative conflicts, which perversely pushed the form in positive, as well as negative ways.
In spite of its name videojournalism was not a discipline exclusively created for news and documentary filmmaking. Videojournalism, the reader learns was reconfigured by broadcasters to meet their needs and it this re-wiring of videojournalism which has erroneously become its defining term.
Dr Dunkley Gyimah argues in Cinema Journalism that videojournalism’s radical nature is as relevant now as it was then. It embraces dissonance by its dependency, and departure from the conventions of mass communication towards enveloping sub genre disciplines. These emerging separate entities, such as mobile (iPhone) journalism and drone journalism do not place sufficient weight on film grammar, style and narrative like videojournalism has done and continues under the radar amongst its exemplars.
The short below was shot created on an iPhone. The brief was conceived in 15 minutes. Filming took in total around 40 minutes and the film was edited in a day. The tech iPhone, is important, but it’s the ends justifying the methodology, that original videojournalism taught.
Through identifying an adhoc movement Dr Dunkley Gyimah shows individuals revered by their peers revelling a style that absorbs stylistic schemas of cinema, design, photojournalism, literature and art.
The author traces a path to describe the roots of this innovation with interviews with figures such as Robert Drew, the father of Cinéma Vérité in the 1960s.
Drew, who died in 2014, created a movement that would reform news camera technology around the world, but also introduce a new style of filmmaking. Dr Dunkley Gyimah revisits the the thread that links Drew and his antecedents to the contemporary style called: Cinema Journalism.
This multifaceted discipline is now the subject of a new MA course.
So would you buy this book? Email David at email@example.com with your thoughts and comments or please leave a comment below.
Dr Dunkley Gyimah’s book researched over seven took him across the world, from China, Cairo to Chicago including near the Syrian border. He filmed most of his interviews, which he is looking to turn into a series. The short above played at Apple Store, gives a insight into the series contents. You can email him on firstname.lastname@example.org
He has worked in the media for more tha 25 years, for brands such as the BBC, ABC News and Channel 4 News. He was a creative director for a commercial making company headed up by Jon Staton, a former head of TV at Saatchi and Saatchis.