Professionals Provide Online Video Journalism Workshop

As a person who is interested in directing and especially of documentaries, I sometimes look for good advices for filming online. Today I found an online video journalism workshop, led by an award-winning journalist – Bill Gentile. In the videos, provided by the project, you can see good practices in this sphere of work, how to express your ideas, to tell your stories in the best way, how to deal with technique, sound and image. There are also interviews with filmmakers, who share their experience.

This workshop could be really useful for online journalists. The possibility to mix text, sound and video makes the materials provided by the online media richer and more influential. It gives additional authenticity to the text material when the journalist supports his words not only with photographs, but also with video reports. So the good video storytelling is very important.

This is one of the videos from the workshop:

 

You can read more about the workshop on the official website and on the official Facebook page.

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3 Reasons Why I Still Don’t Have a Personal Blog

Almost all of the journalists and the journalism students who I know have a personal blog. Recently I’m thinking of following their example. I like the idea. To create my own online mirror of words. My little cosmos, limited only by me. I put the borders, I cross them. And sharing myself. Like the others share themselves with me. Reading pieces from each other. It’s beautiful.

But I still don’t have a personal blog and here are my reasons why I’m postponing it.

1. The lack of self-discipline. As I already stated in one of my previous articles, the self-discipline to create a content of good quality anytime is one of the most important things in journalism, and respectively in blogging. If I really want to have an influential blog, I need to maintain it properly and to publish good materials regularly. Well, I think that I still don’t have such a strong self-discipline.

2. I’m afraid that I’ll stop value the words as much as I do now. Following the need to maintain the blog all the time publishing regularly I may stop writing because I want to, but because I feel obliged to. If I start accepting the creative process as an end in itself, my thoughts would sound fake, they would lose their meaning. Raping words, sentences, whole texts just in the name of the posting. So where is the point?

3. I’m doubting that I’d really be heard. Every author wants to be noticed and as bigger the public is as better. I’m not sure that the blog would give enough popularity to the things I publish. And if noone else reads it except 5-6 people, or even a bit more, isn’t it like throwing my ideas in the empty space?

Althought I have these doubts, I think that soon I’m gonna try having and maintaining a personal blog. Still the need to create and share myself with the others is probably stronger than all the doubts in the world. 

Online Nomads

Online journalists somehow remind me of nomads. Online nomads.

The online environment creates the perfect atmosphere for developing and feeding their nomad souls. They move often from media to media, just like the nomads move often from place to place, looking for better conditions, living, and inspiration.

When it comes to the traditional media, it seems that the journalists tend to stay at one workplace for a longer time – for years, even for a lifetime. They connect their career to it and get perfectly adapted to its rhythm, style, tactics, and politics. Their professional work is consisted of layers of traditions, and the long traditions are kind of a guarantee for a good quality. But the traditions sometimes mean also conservatism and respectively more limits.

On the other hand we have the online journalists, who tend to change their workplace more often or to work for a few online media at the same time. In this case they don’t have so strong traditions as a background, but they have a bigger variety of experience. The bigger variety of experience means more eclectic and colourful style of working. The eclecticism in culture, in life, and in work often leads to interesting results.

I have already chosen to be part of the nomad bunch of online buddies, at least for a while. I need that – to change the environment from time to time, to try different styles, topics, even different borders. I believe it will enrich me in many ways, but still someday I will have to go back to the traditions. Because I suppose that even the nomad souls, online or in real life, need a wharf at some point. At least for some time.

But for now I am one of them.

The online nomads.

 

Sit and Write! Go and Take Photos! Get Ready and Film! Or the Importance of the Self-discipline in Journalism

Being a good journalist is not only a matter of nice style of writing, curiosity, creativity, seeing and telling the stories around you. One of the most important characteristics of the journalist is the self-discipline.

As a journalist you should be always ready to write, and not just writing something, but really meaningful texts. You should always be ready to take photos and to film videos with sense and impact. As a real professional you should be able to grab the news and the stories and to put them into words and images as fast as possible, doesn’t matter what is the environment, the time, your health, if you are tired or bored. There shouldn’t be such excuses like lack of inspiration and ideas.

This self-discipline is especially important in our elusive time, when everything happens so fast and the news appear and disappear in seconds. You have the online media and the social networks, where the updates and the information are being born so fast all the time, and the journalist must be in this rhythm, competing for being one of the fastest in providing information with good quality.

For example this self-discipline is so important in blogging. You have an endless variety of topics and the freedom to express your ideas in the way you want, without the limits which you have if you work for an official media. This is your private space which you share with the others and you decide about everything. But if you want your blog to be really influential, you should provide good content regularly, as often as possible. That is why I don’t have a personal blog – I still don’t have enough self-discipline to maintain it in the way I want to, and if I do it, I want to do it right.

I believe that in general it’s a matter of training. When I had my practice in one online media for five months I didn’t have this self-discipline at all. Before this practice I had written just for my own pleasure or for some school and university tasks. And then with the start of the practice came the serious work, when I had to get used to the daily rhythm of a real journalist. It was very hard in the beginning. But then with the time it became better, the words were coming to me easier when I had to write a material. I started paying bigger attention to the details around me and it seemed like I didn’t have to look for the stories anymore, because they were finding me alone. I started writing, taking photos and filming more often in my free time too. It was like… learning to be inspired. All the time!

So, organise yourself and get in rhythm.

Sit and write! Go and take photos! Get ready and film!

Be a journalist!

When the Clicks Kill the Content

Being a journalist in an online media gives you wide possibilities to express and share your ideas. But working for an online media also makes you think about the clicks and the views of your articles. Maybe too much sometimes. And this “too much” in some cases just kills the content. Kills your ideas. Kills the purpose of journalism.

You start thinking about strategies how to attract more and more people, which inevitably makes you write for the mass taste and use clichés. First you start making small compromises with yourself, you think that it’s not such a big deal, but then the compromises become bigger and bigger. Until you lose yourself in them. 

Once you cross a certain moral border, it’s not hard to cross it again. At some point you start thinking that it’s not so wrong to distort a bit the truth. Later you will think that even a lie is not so bad and can’t do much harm after all.

You put bombastic titles, all capital letters, and numerous exclamation marks to some material with no real content just in the name of the views. Everything is “SENSATION!”, “SHOCK!”, “OMG!”… You need clicks. Lets make some scandal! Creating news from nothing. You don’t care about the people who will read it. Don’t care that you will lose their time when you mislead them with the bombastic titles and that they will read an empty text. Dumb words. Don’t care that your article looks cheap and sounds cheap. Don’t care that the people disrespect you and swear at you a thousand times per day. Where is your dignity? The views matter more…

You become addicted to the popularity, but not to the sense which you could bring with your materials. Are you a journalist? Or are you just a click chaser?

Don’t kill your content. The clicks don’t matter. The sense does.

 

6 Advantages Online Media Give to the Journalists

As a journalism student I have already had a few professional practices and I have chosen to develop my career mainly in the sphere of the online media. But what are my reasons? Here are some of the advantages which the online media give to the journalists.

1) The feedback is really important. The online media give the possibility for direct, very fast and various feedbacks. The readers of one article could be a good corrective and advisor. They show which are the most popular and loved topics, or the taboo ones, what more you need in your material, or what is needless. They can even give new ideas and topics to develop. This way of communication also shortens the distance between the author and the readers.

2) The unlimited space to develop the ideas and the topics. The online media give bigger possibility for creativity, better expression of thoughts and showing one’s different style without bothering for limitations.

3) The possibility to mix text, video and sound. Adding sound and video components to an article can make it richer and much more influential.

4) The possibility for fast editing. Being as correct as possible in the information which you offer to the audience is one of the most important things in the journalism. The online media allow you to correct your mistakes on time and to add more information to the article if you get new facts.

5) Adding hyperlinks to connected articles. It gives people who are not so familiar with a certain topic the chance to become better oriented in the respective subject and follow its development by reading some background materials etc.

6) It is not so hard to start and develop your own media. You do not need a big start-up capital and it is quite easy to popularise your media by the social networks. You just need a good strategy, fresh ideas and some courage.

Write Short! Or the Problem of Not Being Dostoevsky

Two years ago. I am in 12th grade and I have a journalism exam. Nervous sleepy people around. They talk about their strategies. Shut up, people! You’re annoying… Who cares about your strategies at 8 a.m.?! I don’t have a strategy. But even if I had… Well, again – no one cares! So, we enter the auditory. They give us the topic. Just letting my mind flow…

I finish the exam more than an hour earlier. Eight pages and endless sentences. Almost no full stops. Just thoughts, emotions, commas. Immediately calling my aunt who is a journalist. She is so excited about the idea of me succeeding her profession. Sharing with her about my long-sentenced essay. She thinks it’s a madness. Her reaction: “Long sentences… Who do you think you are? Dostoevsky!?” With an arrogance characteristic to this age I answer almost immediately and with no thinking: “How do you know that I’m not Dostoevsky?! And, besides, I just like writing long sentences…” Silence on the other side of the phone. Then my aunt starts laughing at my childish arrogance and adds: “Ok, we will see…”

(Let me just add, in order to avoid all the possible hate that I’m not trying to compare myself to Dostoevsky. But why breaking the rules should be a privilege only of the great minds? Probably you would answer that they simply know how to break the rules in the right way. But I suppose that even in the not so skillful breaking the rules one could find a bigger charm than in the most pedantic “following every rule” article…)

A few weeks later we see the result. Listening to my intuition and breaking all the existing journalistic rules actually works for me.

And then… the university, the practices… And everywhere they say: Write short! Cutting the words, the thoughts, the adverbials, sometimes even the breath of the texts. First-person narrative doesn’t sound professionally! Beautiful, but too poetic. Stop with all these commas – use full stops! Short sentences! As they try to turn me into a comma hater. Or into a full stop lover. As you prefer…

Ok, you have to be as fast and as correct as possible. You have a limited space, but… in the traditional media. What about the online media? You have as much space as you want. You can stretch your thoughts, turn them upside down, you can mix arts, mix words, photos, sounds, videos… You can be a writer and a director at the same time. You can talk directly to the people by recording your voice. Everything you want. Why do we need the same rules here, especially when we have genres as the reportage etc., when you have to “draw” the event with words? When you have to make the people feel as they have also been at this place together with you. Do we need a journalist with opinion, or just a typist for the news? Because, if you follow all the rules, the difference sometimes is way too slight…

Yes, we live fast. Yes, we don’t have the time, the nerves and the habit to sit and read something long every day. Probably in big part of the time we all look for the highlights in the texts, and then “Aha, ok, I got it”, and then starting with our tasks. If I see something intriguing, even if it’s too long, even if the style seems not exactly from this epoch of rush… I’d drink my coffee in front of the computer for 5 minutes more and give a shot to the piece.

Won’t the people who read your text feel when you try to stuff your words into a certain frame, not because you want to do it, but because it should be like this according to the rules? Don’t you feel like you rape your thoughts and sentences? So why should it be better to follow the rules, when you can’t say the things in the way in which you think and feel them? Changing even one word, changing even only one coma or full stop could destroy the whole atmosphere. And it’s not putting yourself into words anymore. It’s deleting yourself from the text.

You have the right to be in your own text in the way you want to be. Even if you have the problem of not being Dostoevsky.