Thursday, December 4, 2008

Let Subjects Shoot Themselves

YouTube is actually looking for quality videojournalism. Being YouTube, they're not scouring professional media institutions -- that's our job at KobreGuide. Instead, they're looking for grassroots amateur contributions -- "citizen journalism."

In partnership with the Pulitzer Center, YouTube has launched Project: Report, a videojournalism contest "intended for non-professional, aspiring journalists to tell stories that might not otherwise be told."

The challenge?

Produce a piece that empowers an underrepresented community to tell its own story to the world. First, choose a group of people that are rarely covered by the traditional media. Then let them use the camera to document their own lives, and to tell their own story. It's up to each individual reporter to collect the footage captured by the members of this group, and to weave that material into your own reporting to create a compelling and unique story. The video must be 5 minutes or less.
The notion of a collaborative videoproject that enables its subjects to shoot each other is intriguing, and indeed a worthy effort is role-modeled on Project: Report.

Photojournalist Andre Lambertson conducted a weeklong video training session with seven former child soldiers in Liberia, and guided them as they produced video interviews of themselves. It's a compelling way to tell their story, about their evolution from warriors to peace-builders, from the inside. These young men call themselves "Future Guardians of Peace." In an accompanying video, Lambertson gives insights on how to approach this type of project. Both the video, and the video about the video, can be found on KobreGuide.

They should inspire professional videojournalists to think about other uses for this novel approach to collaborative videojournalism.

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