Category Archives: Concentra

Quality?

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Much hysteria on the blogosphere of late as first WUSA in Washington, DC and then yesterday KPIX in San Francisco announce that they are going VJ.

The quality! The quality!

The quality will suffer!!!

Viewers will leave in droves because without a professional cameraman, the quality will deteriorate.

As if this were a given.

Nonsense.

I have spent a good deal of time this week screening the finalists for the Concentra Prize for Videojournalism.  $15,000 to the winner, and a breaking news winner as well.

We had several hundred entries from all over the world.

Now we are down to the final 50 or so, and I am still screening.

Above, one of the local entries, from John Munson from the Newark Star Ledger. Munson was a still photographer who picked up a video camera.

Take a look.

Do you really think the quality has suffered?

Does this look like Youtube?

Does this look like he really would benefit from having a camerman accompany him? How about a reporter?

The day of the two man team is rapidlly drawing to a close.

But ‘quality’ does not seem to be suffering too much from what I can see.

in fact, as with the coming of the Leica and 35mm film to photojournalism, I think we are in fact at the beginning of a much more interesting period for television and video journalism.

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The Prize

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We’re giving it away…

Six years ago, I met Philip Hilven for a drink at the Heathrow Hilton.

Philip was working for Concentra, one of the larger publishing companies in Belgium.

Concentra was in the newspaper business, but they were dabbbling in local cable TV. Philip had heard my speak in Barcelona a few years before, and had grown enamored with the VJ concept.  After the drink and dinner he invited me to come to Belgium and to work with Concentra.

The stations (there are now four), built entirely on the VJ model, are today the most profitable part of the Concentra Media Group.

The company was so taken with the concept, that the following year, they started offering a prize for the best VJ work – first in Europe, but starting last year, anywhere in the world.

Today, with the dollar where it is, and the Euro where it is, the prize for 2009 is currently worth $15,000 (plus an all expense paid trip to Brussels for the awards ceremony, March 5th).

I invite anyone in the VJ business to submit their work.

Here’s the info

Looking forward to seeing your submissions.  And maybe seeing you  in Brussels in March as well.

Rosenblum Institute Opens In Netherlands

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Today the Rosenblum Institute begins a partnership with the Dutch Media Academy in Hilversum, Netherlands.

The Rosenblum Institute is a partnership between Rosenblum Associates and Concentra, one of the largest media companies in Belgium. Four years ago, we began professional VJ training for European journalists.

The Dutch Media Academy is one of the largest media training centers in Europe, with many media partners from RTL to major newspapers across much of Europe. But now that the VJ is rapidly becoming a dominant force, so too is the need for professional training.

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Ernest Bujok, Managing Director, Concentra

The Institute’s main headquarters remains in Brussels, but now we are opening a second branch in Hilversum, The Netherland’s premier media and television city. (Hilversum is also the home of Endemol, our new friend and neighbor, and also the folks who bring you shows like Big Brother, Deal or No Deal, Kid Nation and Extreme Makeover – you see how pervasive Dutch TV is? I bet you had no idea).

We have high hopes for Capetown in the very near future and are in talks with Dubai as well. More to come….

DNA2008 Day 1

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The first DNA2008 conference starts outside the Brussels Marriott. The hotel rolled out the red carpet for us, (but in this case, it was in black and white, but with our logo on it!) Nice touch.

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When we started, we anticipated 150 delegates, if we were lucky.  This morning we had 300. Pretty good for the first time out.

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The panels were all well attended and pretty interesting. This one was on newspapers and magazines moving to video  online. On board, the editors of The Daily Telegraph, UK; de Telegraph, Germany; the Chief Information Officer for McGraw Hill (Business Week, Aviation Week, etc..) …nice….

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The most amazing thing about the VJ panel was that there was no dissention, (or hardly any).  Not so many years ago, as Pat Loughery (L), Director of BBC Nations and Regions (their national news network) reminded me, we could not even mention the term without people going nuts.  Today. not a single dissenting voice from 300 journalists and media execs.  The concept is a done deal, at least in Europe. What a contrast to the US!

All in all, the first day went great.

Far better than we had even hoped for.  Let’s see what tomorrow brings.

In The Jury Room

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Get the white smoke ready….

Today, we spent the day sequestered in a conference room on the second floor of the Brussels Marriott, trying to reach a decision on the winner of the 2008 Concentra Award for Videojournalism.

This is not easy to do.  But we did it. Finally.

There were  many good submissions, and the jury represents a cross-section of European journalism, with many different and strong opinions.

On the jury:

Michael Rosenblum - Rosenblum Associates
Michael Rosenblum – Rosenblum Associates
USA Head of the jury

 

Leif Hedman - SVT
Leif Hedman – SVT
Sweden

Leif Hedman has spent a large part of his life on the road with a camera in hand. He has worked as a documentary filmmaker, foreign correspondent, and professor in cinematography at the Swedish Dramatic Institute and he has served as head of production at SVT News. He is also one the members of the group which developed and introduced the digitized workflow for TV news production now in use at Swedish Public Television. Hedman has spent a lot of time spreading the ability amongst TV journalists to prepare, shoot and edit their stories by themselves. In this spirit he has appeared as a lecturer in several countries and he has held courses all over Sweden, in the Baltic countries and in Botswana.

 

Sue Phillips - Al Jazeera
Sue Phillips – Al Jazeera
UK

Sue Phillips is the London Bureau Chief for Al-Jazeera International. She is an experienced broadcast professional. Her career includes senior roles as London Bureau Chief for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), Managing Director of News World International, and Senior Radio Producer and Senior Television Producer at CBC.

 

Willy Lenaers - Concentra
Willy Lenaers – Concentra
Belgium

Willy Lenaers is CEO of Concentra Media, one of the oldest and largest media groups in Belgium.  The Concentra regional TV stations, TV Oost and TVL are European pioneers in video journalism. Willy Lenaers will be the host of this year’s jury

 

Christian Trippe - Deutsche Welle
Christian Trippe – Deutsche Welle
Germany

Christian F. Trippe was born in Düsseldorf in 1961. He first started work for the BBC Radio German Service in London, Deutschlandfunk Cologne and then WDR-TV in Düsseldorf before joining Germany’s inernational broadcaster Deutsche Welle TV in 1993.

Since then he has job roles including  Editor, News and Current Affairs Department (1993 – 1998),  Moscow Bureau Chief (1999 – 2002) and Head of Political Department in Berlin between 2002 – 2007,  where he was responsible for DW-TV’s VJ-activities. Presently, Christian is the Brussels Bureau Chief.

 

Vicent Partal - Vilaweb
Vicent Partal – Vilaweb
Spain

Vicent Partal is deputy-Chairman of the European Journalism Center. Founders and Director of VilaWeb.com an electronic newspaper which is the main catalan language site and one of Spain’s most successful internet news services. Before worked as a journalist in several newspapers and as a reporter in TVE. He has also been working as a foreign affairs correspondent in Central and Eastern Europe focusing on the former USSR. He is academic-director of the Digital Journalism MA at Ramon Llull University in Barcelona and advisor of BarçaTV, the official channel of FC Barcelona. Partal has been awared with several prizes as the National Award in Journalism (2004) or the City of Barcelona Award in Journalism (1999).

 

Tone Kunst - NRK Nordland
Tone Kunst – NRK Nordland
Norway

Tone Kunst is editor-in-chief in NRK Nordland, which is one of NRK’s 12 regional stations. NRK Nordland has 20 VJ’s, most of their TV news are produced by VJs, and since 2003 they annually arrange the Norwegian VJ Congress . Kunst began her journalist career in 1980, working with both radio and TV until she in 1994 became an editor and later chief editor in NRK Finnmark, the northernmost regional station in Norway. From there she moved on to NRK Nordland in 2002. She has worked with VJs and strategies for integrating videojournalism in the news production for the last ten years.

 

Bas Broekhuizen - Volkskrant TV
Bas Broekhuizen – Volkskrant TV
Netherlands

Bas Broekhuizen (1975) studied History in Amsterdam. He joined de Volkskrant – one of the leading broadsheets in The Netherlands – in 2000. As a web editor and a project manager he helped build the online strategy of the paper. In 2005 he headed an experiment on multi skilled journalism. Three newspaper reporters were trained as video journalists so they could create video reports to accompany their print stories. The main conclusion of the project: writing an article for the newspaper and producing a video report on the same subject is not a good combination when you want both stories to be the best you can offer. To get quality, you need a dedicated team of talented video journalists. Since 2006 Bas has been the editor and producer of Volkskrant TV, a department of the newspaper that creates video clips for the web, IPTV and broadcast television. His team is a mix of retrained newspaper reporters and television professionals. They operate on their own, in small teams or together with their colleagues from the print edition.

 

Simon Bucks - Sky News
Simon Bucks – Sky News
UK

Simon Bucks began his journalistic career as a news agency reporter in Bristol, UK in 1972. He moved into television news in 1975, as a producer with HTV West, also in Bristol. In 1981 he moved to the ITV national news organisation, ITN, where he rose to be Senior Programme Editor, producing at various times all ITN’s main programmes on ITV, as well as numerous special programmes.

In 1994, Simon moved to be Head of News and later Controller of Programmes for London News Network, the company responsible for producing all ITV news programmes for London. In 1998 London Tonight won the RTS award for the best regional news programme. In 1999, he spent a year an independent consultant and producer; and executive produced ITV’s “Millennium Night” show on December 31st . In 2000 he joined Sky News, initially as Executive Producer, Business News. In 2001 he switched to Executive Producer, Special Events. He has been Associate Editor since 2004 and in 2007 moved to Sky News Online where is specifically responsible for growing user participation.

Simon has a special interest in innovation. Most recently he helped launch Sky News’ presence in Second Life. He was responsible for Sky’s reconstructions of the Hutton Inquiry into the death of the scientist David Kelly and the Michael Jackson trial; and he was responsible for winning permission to stream live stenography from courtrooms direct to TV screens. This work won the RTS Innovation award in 2004 and was nominated in 2006. Simon has been closely involved with the British Broadcasters’ campaign to get cameras into courts.

He is President (from Nov 07) of the Society of Editors, and the Vice Chairman of the DA- notice Committee. He is married with two children and lives in London.

 

Steve Taschini -- BBC
Steve Taschini — BBC
UK

Steve Taschini is an Italian who grew up in the North West of England. Leaving school at 16 he worked for various small companies as everything from a Butcher to a Shop fitter before joining the British Army. He served in the old West Germany and Denmark. He then joined BBC Radio Merseyside and has worked for the Corporation for nearly 24 years. During that period he has worked at 8 Local Radio stations, was the Managing Editor of three and for a time worked at BBC Look East, the regional news programme based in Norwich as a reporter and presenter.

Between 1998 and 2000 he worked as a freelance broadcaster, this included time as a Newsreader on SKY TV News. He re-joined the BBC to take charge of BBC Radio Kent and was a member of the management team which set up a new broadcasting region for the South East of England.

He was BBC English Regions Business manager for two years, formulating and developing England wide strategies for all 40 local radio stations and 13 Regional centres and is now Executive Editor of BBC Oxford. The centre is the BBC’s most advanced in terms of multi-media working and was the first in the world to use Video Journalists to produce daily television news. The station has a successful radio station and internet site serving Oxfordshire with the television operation serving the central English counties of Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Northamptonshire, parts of Gloucestershire and the town of Swindon.

Steve is an MA in European Audiovisual Law and Economics, he has one son, Alexander who is 12, his partner Claire also works for the BBC in Network news. Steve has interests including Music, Classic cars and travelling.

Concentra Award Nominees

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The nominations for this year’s Concentra Award for outstanding video journalism, sponsored by Avid, have been announced.

The nominated entries can be viewed at www.theconcentra.org.

“The subject matter and quality of this year’s entries are a clear indication that video journalism is rapidly emerging as an increasingly important and valuable newsgathering tool for the world’s leading news organizations” Michael Rosenblum, Chairman of the Jury

The competition received 97 entries from VJs in 23 countries from around the world. These Concentra Award entries were also considered for a special breaking news prize for VJ news pieces that have been shot, edited and broadcast within 24 hours.

The initial round of judging created a long list of 17 entries, 5 of which could also qualify for the breaking news prize. The second round of judging produced the short list of 7 nominated pieces 2 of which are considered as breaking news. Final judging of the 7 nominated entries will take place on March 2nd in Brussels.

The Concentra Award 2008 and the breaking news prize will be presented at a ceremony at the Brussels Marriott Hotel on March 3rd, as part of the Digital News Affairs Conference ().

Nominations for the Concentra Award 2008, sponsored by Avid

Afghan Heroin Addicts – Claire Billet – France 24, France
Crisis in Darfour Expands – Travis Fox – The Washington Post, USA
Demonstration Supporters of KSK Beveren – Stavros Van Halewijck, Belgium – TV Oost
Foot Patrol Taliban – Raul Gallego Abellan – Associated Press USA
Morning Tears – Miranda Gijsen, Belgium – TV Limburg
Myanmar Crackdown – Tony Birtley UK – Al Jazeera International
The Nightwatch – Idar Eduin Krogstad Norway – NRK

The jury for the 2008 award

Host: Willy Lenaers (CEO, Concentra, Belgium)
Chairman: Michael Rosenblum (CEO, Rosenblum TV, USA)
Sue Phillips (London Bureau Chief, Al Jazeera, UK)
Cristian Trippe (Brussels Bureau Chief, Deutsche Welle, Germany)
Bas Broekhuizen (Editor, Volkskrant TV, Netherlands)
Tone Kunst (Editor in Chief, NRK Nordland, Norway)
Vicente Partal, (Board Member, ECJ, Director, Vilaweb, Spain)
Leif Hedman (Director, SVT, Sweden)

The Concentra Award, sponsored by Avid

Established in 2004, the Concentra Award for outstanding video journalism is the world’s leading annual VJ prize. The award aims to highlight and promote video journalism with the aim of encouraging journalists to film and edit their own work. The award, which this year is sponsored by Avid, comes with 10.000 euro in prize money.

A VJ Story

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Foot Patrol by Raul Gallego Abellan. 

On March 3-4 we will conduct what I hope will be the world’s largest global VJ conference, DNA2008 in Brussels.

As part of that conference, we will award our annual VJ Prize of $14,500 (at current exchange rates) for the best VJ piece globally.

Over the past few months, we have received hundrcds of submissions from all over the world.

The results are extremely gratifying.  When we began the award, five years ago, we got just a handful. The number, the range and the sheer quality have increased by leaps and bounds. We know we are on the right path.

As the Chairman of the Awards Committee, I can’t divulge my votes, nor even my preferences.  However, between now and the award presentation, I want to share with you just a few of the entries to show you the quality of what we are getting.  We have come such a long, long distance since the first days of this concept – since we first gave video cameras to pros like PF Bentley, Dirck Halstead of David Kennerly.  I had imagined we might one day get to this point, but I am just delighted to be here.

And as Winston Churchill said (in one of my favorite quotes), it is not the beginning of the end, it is, however, the end of the beginning.

Take a look at the work of Raul Gallego Abellan. Raul is working for The Associated Press Television News as a videojournalist.