Saturday, 27 April 2013

TV News Versus Independent Mobile Online Journalism.

I've known Christian Payne online for a number of years, in fact it was following him on Twitter years ago that led me to become more active and engaged online than I ever thought I would. Known online as @Documentally, Christian has shared written stories, photos, audio and video about a myriad of subjects that both entertain and inform. I like and enjoy his style.

Christian Payne... On the road to Syria.

We have met socially a few times at twitter meets where we talked all things tech and social. It seems to me that Christian is a very driven man when it comes to storytelling and teaching his craft and journalism style.

In my world of TV making, with my big broadcast camera, satellite trucks, reporters, lighting and sound it is still very much a team effort. I have backup from journo's, producers and news editors. My output is filmed, voiced and packaged for the TV news viewing public at set times and with strictly controlled media guidelines.

There is a big difference between us in the way we tell our stories and the kit that we use. Christian tells his story using iPhones, Tablets, and other assorted tech that can basically fit in his pockets or a small back pack, but the stories are just as well told.

Christians basic storytelling kit. Small, light and absorbent.

This is why I want to tell you about Christian. A few days ago he set out on his own on an assignment to cover the still ongoing civil war in Syria. Travelling light, he is using his online resources to get small stories told. One by one, those small stories will no doubt converge into a larger online collection of audio, pictures, words and video that will tell otherwise untold aspects of life in Syria that I think, would not be told in the mainstream media.

I have no doubt that Christian will talk to and document the lives of people that you otherwise would not hear from. To experience the lives and stories of those that have no voice and little hope at this time. It is something that we in the mainstream media could do a lot more of, but are fixed in our mainstream TV ways, which works well on the TV news. Our online presence however, could be bigger and more individualistic. We could make good use of the likes of Christian and his new fangled ways...

I urge you to follow his trip on Twitter, Audioboo and on his blog. Things may be a little haphazard along the way. His life is in some danger as is anyone's in a war zone, so occasional online silence is important to keep his location a secret to protect those that give him shelter and help along the way. Syria is, as you know, a dangerous place to be.

So if you are a news junkie, journalism student, wannabe storyteller or news pro, you could do worse than to follow this story. I think Christian is going to take us on quite a ride.

Paul Martin is @ukcameraman on Twitter.