Steve Garfield

February 10, 2010

We were paid a visit by nationally (perhaps I should say world)-renowned video-news-gatherer Steve Garfield on Monday. Steve’s had his videos posted everywhere, from the BBC to CNN. He’s also a reporter for rocketboom.com.

I thought what he had to say was pretty interesting, and what he had to show us pretty useful overall. What I gathered most from it is how engaging video can be as a news medium, and how in this day and age it can be ridiculously interconnected and widely broadcast to anyone, anywhere.

He took streaming video of our classroom that he was able to post live, at that moment, on the internet, that was able to be followed by any of his twitter followers, which I thought was a pretty nifty little thing to be able to do.

Imagine the possibilities, of, say, an Anderson Cooper broadcasting his live movements out in the field to the thousands upon thousands of people that turn to him for news? I think that’s a pretty wild concept.

He also made us think about the ethics involved with live video, giving an example of a video he made where a woman named Nancy Hogan interrupted an interview he was doing. She was probably not all right in the head, but her questions were surprisingly pointed and I think his overlying philosophy on the situation was spot on:

What I’m doing is I’m just capturing, just sitting back and capturing, letting the camera roll. She had come over the rope and interrupted, so you might turn off your camera. What I think is leave the camera going and capture it all. Some reporters are like ‘whoa that’s not right.’  In a public place like that there’s no expectation of privacy, and beyond that she came across the rope, she saw the cameras, she wanted to participate in the recording. I think it’s fine.

I think one of the best examples of first-person video reporting he gave us was his walkthrough at his Jamaica Plain voting center from election day 2008. He was told he couldn’t videotape anything, but he knew the law and tried to explain to the people there he could, in fact, videotape the surroundings. Ultimately he left, but getting the entire process on video like that provides insight that you can’t really express with words.

Through his dedication and love of the craft, he was also able to spin his work into various paying gigs, which is something most aspiring journalists should look into figuring out, or copying.

I wouldn’t discount doing stuff because it’s free because you have to have experience and do things right now.

Good advice, I’d say. Want to do something? Do it, do it well, and chances are if it’s really worthwhile somebody will be willing to pay for it.

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