Video journalism
Video journalism or videojournalism is a form of broadcast journalism
Broadcast journalism
Broadcast journalism is the field of news and journals which are "broadcast", that is, published by electrical methods, instead of the older methods, such as printed newspapers and posters. Broadcast methods include radio , television , and, especially recently, the Internet generally...

, where the production of video content in which the journalist shoots, edits and often presents his or her own material.

A predecessor to video journalism first appeared in the 1960s in the USA, when reporters had to write and shoot their own stories. Michael Rosenblum
Michael Rosenblum
Michael Rosenblum is a television producer and video journalist .Rosenblum built the first major VJ-driven local TV news operation at NY1. He later went on to train VJs at Voice of America, the New York Times, the BBC, News10, McGraw Hill, German Public TV, Dutch Public TV and many other VJ-driven...

 compared the introduction of video cameras
Professional video camera
A professional video camera is a high-end device for creating electronic moving images...

 to the invention of the portable camera in the 1930s: film spools of plastic made photography
Photography is the art, science and practice of creating durable images by recording light or other electromagnetic radiation, either electronically by means of an image sensor or chemically by means of a light-sensitive material such as photographic film...

 independent from heavy plates
Photographic plate
Photographic plates preceded photographic film as a means of photography. A light-sensitive emulsion of silver salts was applied to a glass plate. This form of photographic material largely faded from the consumer market in the early years of the 20th century, as more convenient and less fragile...

 and tripods, and digital video technology
DV is a format for the digital recording and playing back of digital video. The DV codec was launched in 1995 with joint efforts of leading producers of video camcorders....

 liberates TV from heavy electronic news gathering
Electronic news gathering
ENG is a broadcasting industry acronym which stands for electronic news gathering. It can mean anything from a lone broadcast journalist reporter taking a single professional video camera out to shoot a story, to an entire television crew taking a production truck or satellite truck on location...

 (ENG) equipment, artificial light and television studio
Television studio
A television studio is an installation in which a video productions take place, either for the recording of live television to video tape, or for the acquisition of raw footage for post-production. The design of a studio is similar to, and derived from, movie studios, with a few amendments for the...

s in much the same manner. Video journalism makes it possible for videographer
Strictly speaking, a videographer is a person who works in the field of videography, video production — recording moving images and sound on video tape, disk, other electro-mechanical device. News broadcasting relies heavily on live television where videographers engage in electronic news...

s to document any event while it is still occurring.

In the early 1990s, the news channel New York 1
NY1, New York One, is a 24-hour cable-news television channel focusing on the five boroughs of New York City. In addition to news and weather forecasts, the channel also features human-interest segments such as the "New Yorker of the Week" and the "Scholar Athlete of the Week", and specialty...

 was the first to hire only video journalists. In the mid-1990s, the first German
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 private stations followed the example of NY1, and in 1994, the regional channel Bayerischer Rundfunk
Bayerischer Rundfunk
Bayerischer Rundfunk [Bavarian Broadcasting] is the public broadcasting authority for the German Freistaat of Bavaria, with its main offices located in Munich. BR is a member of ARD.- Legal foundation :...

 became the first public broadcasting
Public broadcasting
Public broadcasting includes radio, television and other electronic media outlets whose primary mission is public service. Public broadcasters receive funding from diverse sources including license fees, individual contributions, public financing and commercial financing.Public broadcasting may be...

 station to follow suit and hire a number of video journalists.

In 2001 the BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 started to switch to video journalism in all its regional offices. As of June 2005 the BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 has more than 600 of its staff trained as video journalists. Other broadcasting entities who now use video journalism include Voice of America
Voice of America
Voice of America is the official external broadcast institution of the United States federal government. It is one of five civilian U.S. international broadcasters working under the umbrella of the Broadcasting Board of Governors . VOA provides a wide range of programming for broadcast on radio...

 and Video News International. It also seems to be becoming more widespread among newspaper
A newspaper is a scheduled publication containing news of current events, informative articles, diverse features and advertising. It usually is printed on relatively inexpensive, low-grade paper such as newsprint. By 2007, there were 6580 daily newspapers in the world selling 395 million copies a...

s, with the New York Times alone employing twelve video journalists.

The Press Association
Press Association
The Press Association is the national news agency of the United Kingdom and Ireland, supplying multimedia news content to almost all national and regional newspapers, television and radio news, as well as many websites with text, pictures, video and data content globally...

 (UK) is behind a training programme which "converts" regional journalists into video journalists, and more than 100 have been converted as of March 2007.

In Australia, several commercial networks employ Video Journalists. They include WIN News, Golden West Network (GWN) and Network Ten. Increasing popularity in online news has seen Video Journalists employed by Fairfax, News Limited and The West Australian Newspaper Holdings to produce video content for their news websites.

In Canada, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation made a widespread move into hiring video journalists (or retraining existing reporters or camera people to do multiple jobs) in the late 1990s. In most cases, they were assigned to local newsroom
A newsroom is the place where journalists—reporters, editors, and producers, along with other staffers—work to gather news to be published in a newspaper or magazine or broadcast on television, cable or radio...

s to do daily news, just as full crews had before. Primarily, it was a cost-saving measure.

Within a few years, however, it was clear that this rarely produced good results because of short deadlines and the assumption that VJ’s could work the same way and on the same stories. The effort was scaled back.

The exception turned out to be video journalists who work more as independent documentary film-makers, using their electronic field production
Electronic field production
Electronic field production is a television industry term referring to a video production which takes place in the field, outside of a formal television studio, in a practical location or special venue...

 (EFP) mobility and easier access to do stories that don’t have short deadlines. One example of this is award-winning video journalist Sasa Petricic, who works for CBC’s flagship daily newscast, The National, and reports solo from around the world. Tara Sutton
Tara Sutton
Tara Sutton is a Canadian journalist and filmmaker whose work in conflict zones has received many awards. She is one of only a handful of international television correspondents that both produce and shoot their own reports also known as "video journalism"....

 another Canadian video journalist reported for multiple news outlets from Iraq and other conflicts and won many international awards. She has cited the unobtrusively small equipment of a video journalist as allowing her to move undercover more easily in the extreme danger of Iraq and access places where traditional news crews could not have gone with out become targets.

The video journalist Kevin Sites
Kevin Sites
Kevin Sites is an American author and freelance journalist. He has spent nearly a decade covering global wars and disasters for ABC, NBC, CNN, and Yahoo! News...

 is perhaps the best known having his own website Kevin Sites in the Hot Zone in which he spent a year going from one war to the next. He began as a traditional camera man but switched to video journalism.

The New York Times employs 12 video journalists who come mostly from television and documentary background. The Times' video unit regularly produces documentaries to go along with print pieces that run in the newspaper.

Pros and cons

Growth in video journalism coincides with changes in video technology and falling costs. As quality cameras and non-linear editing system
Non-linear editing system
In video, a non-linear editing system is a video editing or audio editing digital audio workstation system which can perform random access non-destructive editing on the source material...

(NLE) have become smaller and available at a fraction of their previous prices, the single camera operator
Camera operator
A camera operator or cameraman is a professional operator of a film or video camera. In filmmaking, the leading cameraman is usually called a cinematographer, while a cameraman in a video production may be known as a television camera operator, video camera operator, or videographer, depending on...

 method has spread.

Some argue that video journalists can get closer to the story, avoiding the impersonality that may come with larger television crew
Television crew
Television crew positions are derived from those of film crew, but with several differences.-Pre-production:-Casting Director:-Costume designer:-Director:* Associate Director -Location Manager:-Make-up artist:...

ing. In addition, the dramatically lower costs have made possible the birth of many cinéma vérité
Cinéma vérité
Cinéma vérité is a style of documentary filmmaking, combining naturalistic techniques with stylized cinematic devices of editing and camerawork, staged set-ups, and the use of the camera to provoke subjects. It is also known for taking a provocative stance toward its topics.There are subtle yet...

-style documentary films and television series. Others see this method of production as a dilution of skills and quality driven by television network
Television network
A television network is a telecommunications network for distribution of television program content, whereby a central operation provides programming to many television stations or pay TV providers. Until the mid-1980s, television programming in most countries of the world was dominated by a small...

 management cost cutting incentives.
There is a move towards finding independent distribution for freelance video journalists. One of the issues is copyright
Copyright is a legal concept, enacted by most governments, giving the creator of an original work exclusive rights to it, usually for a limited time...

, which can be difficult to obtain when broadcasters and agencies insist on full ownership of the footage. The other difficulty can be trying to find distribution beyond established contacts. Increasingly, online companies such as Beamups are giving VJs the opportunity to keep ownership of their stories and find global distribution.

Related words

A video journalist is often referred to simply as a "VJ". Other titles for the same or similar job include:
  • Solo VJ
  • One Man Band or "OMB"
  • Multi-Media Journalist or "MMJ"
  • Backpack Journalist
  • Solo journalist or "SoJo"
  • 2010 Video journalist of the year
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