Twenty five years ago few could have dreamt of the world of communications of today; the DIY culture, how one person could singularly produce video news and radio podcasts empowering themselves and thus earning sizeable social capital.
But tucked away in the heart of London, a relatively little known documented experiment took place. From a pool of three thousand hopefuls responding to a strange advertisement (left) in The Guardian Newspaper, thirty youngsters were chosen to not just imagine the future, but enact it.
These young people would kickstart the revolution we’re continually witnessing today in their use of video, filming news, creating new styles and sharing the possibilities of the web.
The outfit would be known as Channel One TV. It involved some of the industry’s greatest and innovative thinkers at the helm, such as Sir David English and Nick Pollard (left), whom in the clip on the left talks about how the station pioneered low cost documentaries.
Following Channel One, Pollard would become the Head of Sky News for a decade. Many other senior figures in the UK would later praise the contribution of Channel One TV to the industry, such as Stuart Purvis, former CEO of ITN and Pat Loughrey, former head of Nations and Regions.
Just what did Channel One Do?
Research shows the following about Channel One
They crafted new filmic narratives into the traditional news package — a precursor and off shoot to a future cinema journalism.
They were the first in the digital space to create programmes transmitted on the web working collaboratively with Cyber cafe
They pioneered an emerging brand of low-cost reality docs.
They heralded the multimedia movement when that kicked off in 2000.
So twenty five years on, what will the next twenty five years look like and what became of the thirty young pioneers? Some of those youngsters became household TV names, such as Chris Hollins who won Strictly Come Dancing. Others have carved out careers and continue to innovate.
Dimitri Doganis from Raw TV has won BAFTAs, and been nominated for an Oscar. His work pushes at the boundary of factual narrative by working in cinema. Raw TV’s The Imposter is an example of this.
- Rachel Ellison became an MBE working in Afghanistan empowering women and promoting human rights, and now runs a successful Executive Leadership coaching business.
- Marcel Theroux is now a successful author and documentarian working on Unreported World unearthing stories that deserve wider exposure. And if you’re wondering, yes, Marcel is the brother of Louis Theroux.
- Sacha Van Straten is pioneering innovation in education; Richard Griffith as a creative technologists worked with some of the world’s first video streaming services; Trish Adudu is a multi-talented presenter/producer on Birmingham radio and TV, and Rav Vadgama continues surprise at GMB ITV as a “rebel without a crew telling stories around the world”.
Me, in 2005, I imagined what the future would look like, code it and built it. It would lead to me becoming the first Brit to win the coveted Knight Batten Award for Innovation in Journalism — a global competition in the US in which my design and ideas beat Newsweek and CNN.
The judges said:
This interactive magazine foreshadows the future with its use of hip new story forms and highly video-centric Web tools.
2005 Batten Advisory Board Judges
Then in 2014, I completed my PhD at University College Dublin. It too delved into the future of communications, cognitive thinking and video. So what will the next twenty five years look like in a world of A.I., Machine language, Presence Reality, VR and the Brainternet?
What possibly could it be? This is the Internet coming into its own, facilitating a systems thinking approach, of audiences re-engaging their relationship with content as down time becomes even more acute, of an information warfare yielding an alt industry of proving proofs,of the replacements of mobiles, behavioural tracking ware and video hyperlinking of a different scale and cinema journalism.
We weren’t wrong back then. Could we possibly be right again? This is The Next Twenty Five Years, a potential documentary series using personal extensive archive and contributors, from those pushing the envelope today, and those I relied upon such as the late great Robert Drew father of Cinema Verite, who helped me with my doctorate.
Dr. David Dunkley Gyimah working on Nato War Games as field editor.
Notes on background reading