Rise of Video Journalism

Nearly every smart phone today produces broadcast quality HD video. Smart phones used to be a last resort for news stories. Today they are used routinely. Consider the story below.

It was shot entirely on an iPhone 5s at full HD 1080p. This version was downconverted for broadcast. It was shot by Philip Bromwell, an Irish journalist for RTE News. He is not a professional cameraman, but he was trained by the BBC Academy of Journalism at an intensive VJ (Video journalism) bootcamp.

This piece could easily have been produced by a professional news crew. That would have taken longer to produce and cost a lot more.

Over a billion smart phones in the world are news cameras ready to go. Not only can these cameras shoot HD, but they can edit and upload it as well. It’s a been quite a while since news organizations routinely sent news crews to the ends of the earth for stories. Sure, that method of news gathering is not dead, but it’s changed by the availability of all these pocket cameras that are already in place. And the phone/cameras are held by people who speak the language, know the players and the story. There are numerous
books and resources which teach video journalism.

Numerous news stories have propelled this trend. In Cairo Egypt a few years ago, tens of thousands of anti-government protesters rioted and confronted police. This was the biggest challenge to authoritarian President Hosni Mubarak’s 30 year-rule. They demanded Mubarak’s ouster which eventually happened. It was all recorded by citizens with cell phones.

The rise of video journalism may be the death of “Broadcast Quality.”

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