Happy birthday Choir With No Name

1 04 2011

The Choir With No Name celebrated their third birthday at Feet First in Brick lane on Thursday 31st March.

Founded by Marie Benton, the choir is made up of homeless, ex-homeless and “just about anyone really.”

Marie Benton

The event was covered by Michael and Sara, two of the new Daily Gorgon citizen journalists and will appear on that blog tomorrow. Meanwhile I took this quick clip before I had to rush back home and finish my assignments for college.

The Choir With No Name

By Mike Doherty


Free hugs in Brick Lane

1 04 2011

By Mike Doherty

Pounding the streets on the look out for stories and armed with my Flip, I came across the Guerilla Hug team in Brick Lane. http://www.guerrillahugs.com/

Hugging the world back to health

This dedicated outfit are trying to change the world by hugging it.

Hugging the world

After some journalistic research and three hugs later I decided that this was definitely news and worthy of  sharing with the world.

By Mike Doherty

Big fat protest

31 03 2011

Jes Wilkins holds his hands up to tough questioning from the Gypsies and Travellers

Gypsy activists gave Firecracker, the makers of the hit channel 4 TV series ‘My Big Fat Gypsy Weddings,’ a big fat suprise at a Royal Television event on Wednesday night (30th March).

Incensed by the increase in discrimination and racism that they say is a direct result of the series, Gypsies and Travellers, lead byTravellers Times editor Jake Bowers, booked tickets for the ‘production focus’ seminar given Executive Producer, Jes Wilkins for Firecracker Films.

Gypsy and Travellers Times Editor questions Jes Wilkins

Instead of the more usual audience of TV industry professionals and media students, the Firecracker team had to defend their methodology, their claim that the TV series is a ‘cutting edge documentary’ , and the ethics behind making a sensationalist and salacious series on an ethnic minority that already suffers from wide-spread discrimination and racism.

A Gypsy activist confronts the Firecracker team

Myself and Dawn were invited to the event by Jake Bowers, who we came into contact during the making of a short film. Working as a team Dawn wielded the flip camera and I recorded the sound for a later write up for a print article on the event.

Outside we talked to Gypsies and Travellers who had come from all over the country to attend the seminar

By Mike Doherty

The VJ monologues cont…

30 03 2011

By Richard Dodwell








Hi everyone,

I thought in relation to Dale’s previous post you would be interested in the above 2009 graphic which, according to the Guardian newspaper in which it featured, shows that ‘In Africa, mobile phone penetration is higher than electricity penetration.’

This struck me as interesting, particularly as internet penetration is so low for the continent. We in the UK and the west rely so heavily on our mobile phones for casual conversations and text messages, yet in the developing world they play a pivotal role in the dissemination of news and stories. Is it our endless rules and regulations that prohibit a new wave of citizen journalism? And who may have an invested interest in these rules?

The following is a really nice video that demonstrates the role of the mobile in Africa (something we can all learn from):

Hello Africa from UZI FILM on Vimeo. 

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/4664795″>Hello Africa</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user1480061″>UZI FILM</a> on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Recruiting Citizen Journalists

30 03 2011

I have just got back from citizen journalism workshop at the Crisis Skylight educational project in Aldgate, London on Tuesday 30th March.

In the workshop I taught basic journalism craft skills to a small group of people who use the project. The idea is that we will research a story over the next two days and bring it back on Friday for a ‘press day’ workshop where we will create, with the help of Jamie Thunder – another MA investigative- a ‘newsy’ group blog called the Daily Gorgon.

So what is citizen journalism? For a start British people are subgects, not citizens, so the title is a bit of a misnomer. However, for me it means ‘journalism from below’ as opposed to journalism from the giddy heights of the mass media industry.

This doesn’t mean that journalism craft skills, media law and ethics, and the motive of an enquiry into the truth do not translate to citizen journalism and this was what my workshops are trying to encourage.

Citizen journalists tend to have an advantage over proffessionals who have to work to an editorial and commercial agenda set by the organisation that employs them. The public know this, and this is one of the reasons why professional journalists find it hard to gain the trust of their sources and subjects. Their advantage, of course, is access to a wide audience/readership through the mass media organisation that they are working for.

Two of the Daily Gorgon group are covering a story that I commissioned. On Thursday the Choir With No Name – a choir made up of homeless and ex-homeless people – will be doing a gig in Shoreditch to celebrate their third birthday. I got press passes for two citizen journalists from the Daily Gorgon who are going to write it up as a news blog. I will also be going to get some flip footage for both WVJ and the Daily Gorgon.

The Choir With No Name in action- courtesy of the Choir With No Name.

Hopefully the Daily Gorgon will survive the end of the two workshops and some of the group will continue to write for it, and the next series of workshops in the summer will recruit more citizen journalists. I will use WVJ to help expand the skill base of the Daily Gorgon so that we are a multi-media site. This will take commitment from both myself and the Daily Gorgon journalists.

Like all the best citizen journalism – It will be a labour of Love!

By Mike Doherty

Are DIY video journalists making the professionals redundant?

30 03 2011

With the general public becoming more and more key to providing footage for news stories online, or even on TV we have to ask ourselves are we in danger of losing professionalism, and reliability in news stories.

As not only blogs begin to make their way in to main stream news, but home captured films, such as those in natural disasters, become headline stories, are we at risk of putting business professional photographers and cameramen out of work?

Some may cry that perhaps our license fee should not be going towards these if they are no longer needed. But does this mean we will begin to lose perspective and balanced arguments in a story?

When the composer Ronnie Hazlehurst died, a few years ago, within hours many respected news sites were claiming he had written a song for S Club 7, based purely on his Wikipedia page. When it became obvious this was untrue, the research, or lack of, by many respected journalists became apparent.

Freedom of speech is a great thing, but we must do our best to ensure that our research doesn’t become lax or sloppy.

Sarah Stewart

Save King Edward Memorial Park

28 03 2011

The Save King Edward Memorial Park (SaveKemp) video I uploaded a couple of weeks ago (See video journalism in action 2) is now on 83 hits on You Tube.

About 40 of them came in when the video was embedded on the campaign site. This is a brilliant way of both getting your work seen and helping the cause you are covering.

With a long series of events in the park over the summer, and the endorsement of celebrities like Helen Mirren and Delia Smith, the video should keep getting hits for a while.

A famous name certainly helps to get hits for a campaign video, as my earlier video on Phillip Pullman at the Oxford Library protest shows (Video Journalism in Action 1). That is currently on 280 hits and again, a big spike in the rating appeared when it was linked to a campaign website (but not embedded). This Video is definitely strong, even though the campaign to stop Library closures in Oxfordshire has won a temporary victory with the council suspending their plans. This video is also being watched in the USA and Canada -testament to the children’s author Philip Pullman’s international appeal.

I am hoping to get another TV angle on my next video which should be loaded on to You Tube on Thursday. I can’t say what the angle or event is, as it is a secret project and will include smuggling a camera into a posh event. I will be filming overtly though – and filming the demo outside. Again, it could appear on a campaign website.

Jessie the wonderdog has only totalled 40 hits proving that Evgeny Morozov is wrong in his book ‘The Net Delusion’, which says that people would rather watch dancing dogs on the net than worthy campaigning and activist videos.

That’s because Video Journalism is fun!

By Mike Doherty