Jan 23 2012

Putting a Face to the News

GRN’s morning news alert, published on out website and emailed to our clients every day at 11GMT, is beginning to undergo an interesting face-lift. The idea is that each day we ask correspondents who cover the biggest news in the world, to spare us a few minutes of their time and record a short video interview with us, which we post on our YouTube channel and link to on our alert.


Today we had Rachel Beth Anderson talking about the anniversary of the Egyptian revolution from Cairo, which captured the imagination of millions in the world and inspired protests and revolts in many countries, some very far away from the Middle East.


Journalism is going through very speedy changes, and correspondents nowadays are challenged by demand to be a multi-talented one-person roving news-making unit. Gathering the news and writing it up is no longer enough and even print journalist can maximise their work capabilities and earning potential only if they can also take pictures, film and edit video, and get themselves on Skype for live on-camera Q&As.


And don’t forget the mobile phone that needs to always be charged, the laptop that needs to be properly encrypted in case it is confiscated by a strict border officer or raided by secret police, and the software that allows you to make your location unknown. A presenter, a cameraman, a sound engineer, and a bit of a James Bond seems to have entered the basic job description, and they are here to stay. Technology is there to meet those demands. In fact, technological developments have created these great expectations.


The younger globetrotting generation of young journalists seem to be savvy when it comes to technology no less than they are about content. Some of us, older or technologically-challenged hacks, are more apprehensive about catching up with the times, yet we are aware of the great potential of those developments and their huge advantages to news makers and news consumers alike.


At the same time the visual languages the viewers is used to is also changing. Broadcasters who were iffy about using Skype and similar software for live hits, are beginning to recognise its advantages. A quick correspondent with a mobile phone can often get the photo or the sound-bites that a large camera crew can’t, not to mention at lower cost.


At GRN we are trying to combine the advantages of using the tools available to almost anybody, while never compromising on the quality of the professional journalism of our correspondents. Our YouTube channel gives us a platform for display, audio or video and to provide a selling platform for our correspondents, while reporting the news.


Looking back at the short interviews we have posted over the last few days reveals a fascinating rainbow of news snippets: Ken McCoy from Hollywood, Tim Stackpool from Sydney, Alan Hall from Berlin, Shaun Walker from Moscow, to mention a few.


And our private secret treat is that we get to say hello in person to a few of our correspondents every single day and bring our own global community of journalists and broadcasters a little bit closer together.


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