Special Video Journalism Issue

In this month's issue of The Digital Journalist, the monthly online magazine for visual journalism, we are making a radical departure from the norm. As longtime readers know, TDJ has been on the front lines of reinventing photojournalism since its first issue 11 years ago. This month, we are turning over the entire magazine to our friend and colleague Ken Kobré, professor of photojournalism at San Francisco State University and author of "Photojournalism: The Professionals' Approach," and his deputy, Jerry Lazar. Ken, who runs his own site, The KobreGuide.com, aggregates the best of newspaper video. For this issue, he has reached out to some of the top people in this emerging world to show and discuss how they are changing the face of photojournalism.

  • Building a Sandcastle . . . in Five Languages
    Video assignment: Profile a professional sandcastle builder. Yes, they exist. For fun, they enter crazy contests and create larger-than-life-sized Disney sand characters on the beach. For money, they build gigantic sand fortresses for festive celebrations ranging from kids' birthday parties to beach weddings. And somehow live with the fact that a day's worth of hard labor will be washed away by the evening tide. But the construction process is fascinating, visually sensational, and a natural story with a beginning, middle, and end. Because of the ephemeral nature of their handiwork, they should be all the more delighted that you want to immortalize it on video!
  • Institutional Videojournalism
    AARP Bulletin Today launched online in May 2008 as the daily-news counterpart to the AARP Bulletin, a monthly print newspaper sent to all 24 million AARP member households. In an era when newspaper circulation is nose-diving and the very existence of print newspapers seems imperiled, organizations such as AARP – a nonprofit association dedicated to helping people 50+ improve the quality of their lives – are discovering that the best way to serve their members is to approach core issues journalistically.
  • Q & A: Lucy Nicholson
    Lucy Nicholson is the award-winning senior staff photographer for Reuters. She was born in London, is based in Los Angeles, and has also worked in Mexico City, Chile and Northern Ireland. She has photographed major sporting events, including the Olympics, Superbowl, NBA Finals, Stanley Cup, World Series and U.S. Open. Her photos frequently appear in such publications as Time, Newsweek, The Washington Post, The New York Times, USA Today, Sports Illustrated and MSNBC. She is in the vanguard of photojournalists who are successfully making the transition to multimedia and videojournalism.
  • How to Build an Emmy-Winning Videojournalism Department
    On the surface, it might appear that the Detroit Free Press specializes in projects -- massive, time- and resource-consuming projects. We have won national and local Emmys for those projects, so that is what people tend to see and remember.
  • E-Mail From New Delhi
    Wow. Where to begin. Well, it's been just over two months now that I've been working as a freelancer after leaving my staff job as a visual journalist at the Los Angeles Times. So far it's been like the elevator business...it has its ups and downs.  more >>
  • From TV News Shooter to One-Man-Band VJ
    When I am out on a story and I tell someone I'm from The New York Times, the immediate response is usually a certain respectful recognition. People know the name; they know it stands for good journalism. But when they see my video camera, sometimes a wave of confusion washes over them and they inevitably ask: The New York Times does video?
  • Surrender? No! Double Down!
    Most online publications paid lip service to "digital convergence" and "multimedia" (terms that have since lost all significance) by halfheartedly committing a small amount of resources and manpower to videojournalism over the past few years. They purchased cameras and software, and forced already overburdened reporters and photographers to add shooting/editing/producing video to their daily chores. Post your print stories and stills by 3 p.m., they mandated – and upload your finished video by 6 p.m. Don't like it? Plenty of freshly minted college grads who will be glad to do it – for half your salary!
  • The Future of Videojournalism
    At first, nobody quite knew what to call it, this new hybrid form of communications. It was a weird blend of TV news story, mini-documentary, narrated slideshow, and folksy home movie. About all you could say for sure was that it mixed audio with still photos and/or video. Sometimes that audio included the subject talking, sometimes it included voiceover narration of the reporter and/or videographer, sometimes it incorporated both.
  • Finding Your Character
    Find an interesting personality to drive your video stories. The strongest stories almost all have a central character that you care about by the video's end. The best way to look at a larger issue is to start with one individual's personal story. Begin with a unique or compelling person whose life tells a larger tale. Remember, people make the stories. Once viewers develop an attachment to the individual, they'll watch your video with much greater interest.
  • Colin Mulvany: From Stills to Video in the Newsroom
    Last month brought yet another round of layoffs – the third in 18 months. The layoff demons, having picked away the flesh, are now gnawing at the bone. In the 21 years I have worked as a visual journalist for The Spokesman-Review, never have I felt more unnerved about my job security.
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