´Video journalist´ is a journalist who shoots, reports and edits his/her news stories using a laptop in the field or in the newsroom. And this solo journalism is called ´video journalism´. This method is comparatively cheaper than the conventional journalism in use, as video journalist will handle the work of cameraman, visual editor and producer. Michael Rosenblum, a pioneer in video journalism says cost can reduce up to 70 percent.
Video journalist will be able to get closer to the content, avoiding the impersonality that may come with larger crewing. A farmer will be more at ease if a video journalist approaches him rather than a big television crew. Even when one is reporting about drug addicts, a video journalist can uncover in-depth personal story.
Mark Bately, video journalist and producer of the BBC says if a journalist does three things himself, it will save time too. Mark says video journalist can make story more productive.
Another advantage is that reporter will know his shoots and can make good placements of the shots. Experts say a video journalist should take movement shoots instead shoot the movement of the character. With the advancement of technology and its accessibility, video journalism is emerging fast. Hence, video journalists are gradually replacing the conventional television journalists.
If we look back to the history of televisions video journalism is not old profession. In the early 1990s, the news channel NY1 was the first to hire only video journalists. In 2001 the BBC started to switch to video journalism in all its regional offices, a process that was organized by Michael Rosenblum.
The BBC had more than 600 of its staff trained as video journalists by June 2005. Now the Video journalists cover one third of the stories broadcasted in the BBC regions.
Voice of America, Video News International and New York 1 and other broadcasting entities are employing this method. Video journalism seems to become more widespread among newspapers as well. Few months ago The Washington Post has announced that they were going to train 300 people in their newsroom to be video literate. Across the world, newspapers are rapidly embracing video.
In context to Nepal
Few months ago Mark Batey, a video journalist and producer of BBC gave a presentation on video journalism in Kathmandu. Mark is also a trainer of BBC who is on a mission to produce more video journalists in BBC throughout the world. Mark was here in Kathmandu to train BBC journalists and was invited by Kantipur Television for a two hours presentation. His experience is that video journalist can make the story more natural. In the presentation Mark shared some of his visual stories.
In Nepali media most of the journalists working in Television are not video journalist. They are television journalist. Video journalist has to do all the three tasks: film, report and edit. The district reporters who file their report and visuals don´t edit so they cannot be called a video journalist.
But video journalism has met oppostion. Mark from his own training experience says most journalist above 40 years don´t like being a video journalist. Senior journalists of my television attending the presentation also didn´t like the idea of video journalist. They say it would be difficult to cover parliamentarian and political stories. Their argument is that a one-man journalist cannot film qualitative visual and collect important information.
But Mark along with other video journalists says it is possible and one just needs some practice.
Video Journalism seems to create a revolution in television journalism worldwide. Newspapers are also opening up with video edition in the web. As online media are using more video journalist for their video edition. Hence the scope is broad.
The question arises can Nepal adopt this method? More than twenty television stations have received broadcast license from the Ministry of Information of which eight are already broadcasting.
So video journalism can prove more productive for these television stations. This cost reduction method can attract the management of these televisions. In years to come they will surely be looking not just for conventional journalist but for video journalist who is sound with television and knows the art of reporting.
Note: The article was originally published on www.americanchronicle.com/articles/view/96956(April 02, 2009).