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Be a video journalist

Got a Camera? Be a Reporter, Not a Spectator

Richard Hering and Hamish Campbell are checking on what you're doing with that camera:

We've all done it. Gone on a demo and taken an hour's worth of video, and the tape of it then languishes on a shelf slowly icing over with dust. Sometimes, but certainly not always, we even label it carefully, because one day we will definitely edit it into our award-winning activist documentary. Yeah, right.

The question is: why don't we do more with all the video and photos we take of every event in our lives? At any interesting action, a hundred people turn up with cameras. Sometimes there are more cameras than activists. What happens to all these pictures and footage? Mainly, if they appear at all, they go into a kind of flickr or youtube compost, waiting for someone, somewhere to grow something out of them. Or worse, they end up in the internet silo which is facebook, as part of your individual profile. I took these pictures, me, they're all about me. Not much desire for social change in that!

So what stops you, and we mean YOU, from doing something useful with your gadgets? How do you become a journalist instead of a by-stander? It's actually a lot easier than you think, but there are some rules.

Being a journalist simply means telling the story, and you don't need a degree course in media to do it.

There are three basic ways of telling the story, in ascending order of skill:

1. Shoot video of anything interesting, keep it short, and put the journalism in the title and description of the video and blogpost when you upload. Just tell us the 5 Ws: Who, What, Where , When and Why.

2. Think about your story, plan it and tell it right there on the spot, putting the story in the video as it is shot. Template 1 - the live editing one shot report.

3. Learn the skills, put 3 months' work in as a video apprentice and plan the story beforehand, so that you can easily edit the result in a few hours. Template 3

All of these need a level of commitment which clearly separates the reporter from the mere on-looker. But they are all things that can be done in your spare time. To make this a whole lot easier, visionOntv is organising the MAKING NEWS ROADSHOW, a citizen journalist training programme beginning in Liverpool on 17-19 June.

So what do you want to be today? A journalist or a spectator?

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