Visual Journalism in London

Simon Waldman
Course Description
To misquote Mark Twain, reports of the death of TV journalism have been greatly exaggerated. But the landscape is changing with bewildering speed. The way we watch news has undergone a revolution in the past decade – a revolution that shows no sign of slowing down. And the way younger people get their news continues to challenge the world’s major broadcasters. But the essential principles that underpin the creation of high quality video journalism seem – so far - to have survived this upheaval.This course combines intensely practical sessions covering the skills and techniques necessary for producing broadcast standard visual journalism with discussion and debate on the shifting tectonic plates in the industry. Students will hear from – and be able to question - leading figures from major TV and online news organisations and they will have the opportunity to spend time in the TV News studios at the headquarters of the BBC. By the end of the course, they will have created their own TV programme.Each week, we will examine different aspects of the production of visual journalism and explore the changing nature of the medium. What are the ingredients needed for an attention-grabbing package? Does EVERY picture tell a story? What makes material shareable? How should journalists frame their questions to elicit the sound-bite answers they seek? How should each shot be framed to achieve the best results? What does the phrase “citizen journalist” really mean? And, now that everyone can put video material online, what will be the impact of the “citizen publisher”? Much of the material we create will use equipment that (almost) every student already owns: a mobile phone.The course makes full use of London’s own unique environment: there will likely be excursions and visits along the River Thames, to the Olympic Park, the London Wetlands Centre, William Morris Gallery and the Thames Barrier.A smartphone with video capability is required for some course assignments. Students are not required to have a background in journalism or environmental studies. They are required to have abundant curiosity, open ears, eyes and minds; to read as widely as possible; to look out for environmental stories across different media.