Tuesday, November 17, 2009

KobreGuide Welcomes VJ Movement

KobreGuide welcomes a new channel: The Video Journalism Movement.

Unlike most of our channels, this one is not a newspaper or major media outlet.

Rather it's an entrepreneurial endeavour designed to collect a disparate assortment of visual journalists from around the globe under one cyber-roof.

Its motto: "Exploring the world one truth at a time."

Its "Grid" represents 256 videos from 118 journalists from 67 different countries -- and all those numbers are constantly growing.

Strangely, VJ Movement also hosts editorial cartoonists, which seems like an odd mix, but also underscores that its video themes and tones embrace advocacy journalism. Stories may be one-sided, but then the site strives to provide multiple perspectives of the same story -- from other sources.

We all know that a completely objective perspective is simply not possible, so we've based our news model on the idea that impartiality is only possible through multiple viewpoints.

Therefore, our approach is to actively encourage contributors to provide different perspectives, and we ask all of our VJs to publish a background profile so that you can understand their perspective and potential biases.

By encouraging our contributors to provide these different perspectives, we are creating the possibility for you to better understand the world around you. It's not about agreeing with what you see, but understanding where it comes from.
Videos are solicited from professionals only -- "We do not publish citizen journalism" -- though it is not clear how one distinguishes these days, considering the absence of a media affiliation for most individual practitioners.

So how does it all work?

Through this online space, professional video journalists from every corner of the world can show their truths about issues affecting the lives of real people. The stories we produce are suggested and selected by our members, together with our contributors, and all of our content is professionally produced exclusively for us.

We place no editorial constraints on our worldwide network of professional journalists, and our shareholders have no control over content. In short, providing they abide by our code of ethics, our members are free to say whatever they like.

All of our story ideas are suggested and voted on by our members and contributors in the online newsroom. The elected story ideas are then produced by one of our VJs.
By registering (for free), you can get participate in the selection process, by commenting on and voting for story ideas -- which range from "Costa Rican Pineapple Boom" to "Sudanese Trouser Woman."

We had a hard time picking the best from so many worthy candidates, and finally settled on "Booming Surrogacy Trade in India" as the first entry in the VJ Movement channel on KobreGuide.com.

The VJ Movement founders are Thomas Loudon and Arend Jan van den Beld, from the Netherlands.

Loudon came up with the idea for the VJ Movement while covering conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. While talking with colleagues after long days of reporting in these war zones, Loudon realized two things: that many journalists could not do stories they wanted to do because editorial directors in far-off newsrooms believed other events were more important, and that when multiple journalists covered the same topic, they all ended up with entirely different stories. This is the basis of our concept, “There is more than one truth.”
Arend Jan van den Beld is former manager of Philips International, Consumer Electronics, and chairman of a parliamentary party in the city council of Haarlem in the Netherlands.

University flatmates and lifelong friends, Thomas and Arend share a common interest in social issues, politics and the importance of being involved with the world around them. After returning from 7 years of journalism in the Middle East, Thomas contacted Arend to share a new concept of journalism, a concept that he was sure would change how international news is reported. Arend Jan became inspired by Thomas’ experiences and was instrumental in transferring that concept into the internet platform that you see today.
The pair bootstrapped the site launch, and has subsequently sought funding from government programs and foundations.

You can apply to join their global network of videojournalists:

The VJ Movement is seeking freelancers. We select journalists based on a demonstration of their abilities to report stories according to the profession's highest standards; their writing, production and editing skills; and their access to broadcast-quality equipment. Contributors should have at least three years of full-time experience as reporters or field producers, be excellent story-tellers, and have a proven ability to not only report but analyze issues.

No comments: