What is an education worth?
Our friend from Fox News writes to ask what is the value of a short training course in video. “How much money can I make from it”? he wants to know.
Ironically, this discourse takes place at the same time as I am on a conference call with an organization called Video Volunteers. I am a board member.
Video Volunteers distributes video gear to some of the poorest people in the world and teaches them how to use it. They make videos both for themselves, for local TV and for the NGOs that work in their community. It is the ultimate in ’empowering’ people with the power of the new medium.
It is also a direct result of the radical drop in the cost of both cameras and edits. In these countries, television used to be in the hands of the state and the very wealthy. Video Volunteers is putting both the know-how and the equipment in the hands of the people.
I quote from their own website:
In 1999 the World Bank asked 60,000 people living on less than a dollar a day to identify the biggest hurdle to their advancement. It wasn’t food, shelter or health care. It was access to a voice. By empowering people to tell their stories, video gives a voice to the voiceless, and to the people who fight for them.
Video Volunteers believes that media can provide marginalized people with a platform for voice and accelerate social change. In collaboration with Drishti Media Collective in Ahmedabad, India, Video Volunteers is working to create a global network of 100s of rural or peri-urban Video Producers who produce and share media across the barriers of illiteracy, poverty and media neglect.
What made the timing of the conference call particularly poigniant is that Video Volunteers was founded by Jessica Mayberry.
The thing is that Jessica was first exposed to the simplicity of video production and the VJ concept when she took one of my 1-week courses at the DV DOJO. (My little DV DOJO, now defunct, was a video bar/cafe that I ran in New York’s idiosyncratic Lower East Side for two years.
Think of it as a kind of Internet Cafe, but with FCP edit stations and classes on how to shoot and cut. )
The tuition for DV DOJO was in fact greater than that which we now charge for Travel Channel Academy, but the curriculum was pretty much the same.
What did Jessica Mayberry get out of the course?
Well, she didn’t get a job at Fox News.
No, instead she was inspired to go out and change thousands of people’s lives in the developing world.
Now THAT is the real value of an education. It opens your mind and shows you how to think in a different way.