The Solo Videojournalist as Social Storyteller

Capturing subjectivity and realism with a digital toolkit and editorial vision

Authored by: David Hedley

The Routledge Companion to Digital Journalism Studies

Print publication date:  October  2016
Online publication date:  November  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138887961
eBook ISBN: 9781315713793
Adobe ISBN:


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Since the birth of photojournalism in the battlefields of the Crimean Peninsula and during the American Civil War, two conditions have defined the news photographer’s craft: how the technology of the day shapes the qualities of the images captured, and how society understands those images. For example, photographers in 1862, using bulky equipment and the cumbersome wet-plate imaging process, relied on exposure times ranging from a few seconds to 10 minutes as they documented the aftermath of the Antietam battle in northern Maryland (Harris, 2013). The emotionally charged still images from that period were a revelation to audiences, perceived as “truthful as the record of heaven” (2013: 87). Across the decades, technological disruption has been journalism’s constant companion, affecting and shaping journalistic practice for photographers and writers alike (Meyer, 2009). This study focuses on solo videojournalism, the practice of a single journalist using role-blurring digital technologies to photograph, narrate, and edit a video production. The chapter asks: How does an award-winning solo videojournalist deploy mobile digital tools and his personal skills to shape a distinct story?

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