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Mark Briggs said that, “Visual Journalism/the backpack journalist is about telling compelling stories that connect an audience with subjects, people and issues.” I think that statement is true because whenever I see a documentary, or watch the news the images that supplement the story do compel emotion from me, the viewer. Video journalism, but more specifically video story telling is very powerful.

Chapter eight of Journalism Next discusses some very helpful topics about the way the digital video revolution came to be and how now a $200 camera and a laptop can produce high quality web video that is equivalent to a $35,000 camera and a two-person crew. He goes on to discuss how now with the impact of digital video and more amateurs publishing frequently more and more schools are giving their students formal training in shooting and editing. This will give those interested in perusing a journalism degree an advantage. Those journalists will become as Briggs puts it, backpack journalist. They’ll work solo and play the roles of reporter and videographer on their given assignment. BBC did a story on this and it thought it was quite interesting.

Let’s talk about some of the helpful tips that Briggs discusses in order.

  1. Plan your video and go. Ask yourself how will the video tell the story? Because the news is happening and it’s not something you can always plan for. I never really asked myself this question but it seems so simple now.
  2. Mix your shots. Focus on obtaining a variety of wide, close-ups, medium and tight shots. I like this because as a “newbie” with this type of technology you could say, it’s very easy to feel overwhelmed and lost or just think that whatever you shoot is good material.
  3. Effective video interviewing. Know your surrounding. Never really thought about how the background could work against me but it’s true it could. Briggs says that picking an environment that complements the topic of the story is important.
  4. Shooting good video. Finally, Briggs discusses the importance of knowing the equipment. I feel that knowing the equipment allows smoother transitions and more creativity.

I enjoyed reading this chapter because it was more than just informational; it opened my mind up and gave me a sense direction. I especially like the section where he talks about being in the editing room making the calls to make sure the best clips make it in. This chapter is informative and helpful but I think that Angela Grant said it best. She said, “The only way to learn video journalism is by doing it.” I am really looking forward to getting the equipment and getting the mistakes out of the way and getting a good story.

I’m going to upload a link about a travel videographer named Tomas who gets paid to travel the world to shoot promotional video for tourism companies. Although he is pretty much promoting what he does, I think his b-roll supplements the story. His technique is illustrated well and he has a variety of shots in there. He has wide shots, tight shots and what Briggs calls a five-shot sequence. He uses his environment and is extremely creative with the angles he uses. I really enjoyed this chapter and I hope my interpretation of the Briggs’ tips were helpful.