First steps

Hi, welcome to this blog and please let me introduce myself.

My name is Charlie Heasman, I am the wrong side of my 60th birthday and a mature student at Dublin Institute of Technology. I am also a self-confessed technophobe, which is pretty unfortunate considering that my chosen course and proposed future profession (journalism) is becoming ever-increasingly web and internet based and computer skills are of paramount importance.

Grandad 1

Only a few short years ago I hesitantly sent my first email.

Now the latest challenge to be thrown at me is to learn web and television journalism from scratch.

The purpose of this blog is to keep a record of progress from day one and to assure anyone who might read it that if I can do it, so can you.

So, in order to get started, just what sorts of on-line learning resources are there out there?


1)    Finding an introductory online course.

For most people searching the internet for tutorials Youtube is the first port of call. The site can offer videos on everything from rubbing two sticks together to start a fire, to using modern software programs such as Photoshop or Indesign, to stripping and rebuilding a carburettor. It can also offer up a wealth of tutorials on video journalism, and what’s more, it’s free. Which is why it gets first mention here.

It can be assumed that anyone reading this blog will have the necessary computer skills to access Youtube tutorials, so no more really needs to be said. However, some examples of useful links include Storytelling Basic Techniques: The Ground Rules. First in a series of some 150 short videos that starts right at square 1.  – Telling true stories with video, Part 1

There are plenty more which you can find for yourself.


Online Video Journalism Workshop by Bill Gentile

Looks good and, if it does all that it says on the tin, probably is.

The course consists of 14 training videos plus an information booklet and sample blank release forms which the user can adapt to their requirements.

Aimed at both students and professional print or photo journalists who wish to diversify into video, the course covers everything from the pre-planning stages to the actual shooting, editing and post production. Also included is advice on getting one’s material out into the marketplace whether by means of social media or by improving one’s Youtube search results likelihood.

The downside for students on a budget is that the course is not cheap and in order to find out just how good it is one must commit to an investment of $295.00. The upside is that it appears to be one of the more full-on and useful courses on offer.


Video Journalism Shooting Techniques by Jeff Sengstack

This course is more specialised and concerns itself much more with the technical aspects of shooting video, with emphasis on matters such as exposure, aperture controls, framing, shot composition etc. All essential elements of obtaining a high quality and visually effective video.

With a month’s membership subscription of $25.00 it is much more within the reach of a student budget.


National Council for the Training of Journalists (UK)

The distance learning module consists of eight units, a sample exam and the Programme of Study.  Students are assessed and marked at the end of the course. The course includes a self produced video report which is included in the assessment.

There is no time limit on the course, so students can progress at their own pace and according to their time constraints.

At £110.00 + VAT it might not be the most expensive on-line course on offer but again, you pay your money and take your chances, and it would be out of the reach of many students.


Poynter. News University: Video Storytelling with the Pros: Doing It All Efficiently

According to their website the course is aimed at “Video, TV, multimedia and other journalists who want to tell more powerful stories every day, plus college educators who teach video journalism–and anyone who tells stories with pictures and sound”.

At $29.95 it is one of the cheaper courses on the net, so might appeal to some.


2)    Production Resources.

Berkely Education Technology Services has a host of tips and free links for the actual production process:

————————— lists useful production and post production resources for videographers.

—————————- has plenty of free videos for all stages, production included, of the video-making process.


Having shot your material it will need editing. An industry standard editing suite is Premiere Pro CS6, a sister package to Adobe Photoshop or Indesign.

Go to where there is a comprehensive list of training tutorials. And they are FREE!


More useful editing know-how here:

Poynter: What journalists need to know about digital video editing.

Includes advice on Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro X.


3)      Video Showcases

Having come this far, and before going any further, it might be a good idea to look at the work of journalists already established in their field. This will give the aspiring novice a much better idea of what is currently going on in the video media market and also what standards to aim for.

No better place to start than

John Pilger is a highly respected veteran reporter who has covered conflicts all over the world and also campaigned extensively on Human Rights issues. The website includes links to most of the 58 documentary films and videos he has made during his career, with a short video introduction to each. Anyone wishing to view an entire film will have to pay for it, but my personal recommendation would be the 97 minute long The War You Don’t See. For €10.99 it can be downloaded to keep and is well worth the money.


For those who do not wish to fork out a tenner  might  be a better bet. VJ Movement is a collaboration of more than 150 professional video journalists from almost 100 countries.

The site has literally hundreds of short videos mostly between four and seven minutes duration, all submitted by its members and covering topics from all over the world. All can be clicked on and watched instantly.

Worth bearing in mind also is that the organisation is recruiting members and membership is free. The drawback for students is that applicants are required to have at least three years experience as reporters or field producers. No harm in storing that link somewhere safe for the future just the same.


Storyhunter  is an organisation bearing many similarities to the one above. Again, there are short videos produced by members on the site which can be viewed for free, and they are also recruiting. There are certain criteria for the applicant to meet however. Details here:

Once an applicant is accepted he or she is free to pitch ideas to the editorial team. If the pitch is accepted an editor is assigned to help with the project. Storyhunter then pay for the fully produced story (currently about $1,000 for a three to four minute film) and make sure it’s distributed regionally or globally.


Kobréguide: is a useful site for finding good journalistic on-line video content.

It is the brainchild of Ken Kobré, head of the photojournalism program at San Francisco State University.  

To quote the site:

“As major media companies are migrating their resources from print and broadcast to their online ventures, multimedia journalism stories are coming into their prime on the Web… Little by little, truly excellent videojournalism is starting to blossom and flourish — the problem is, who has time to hunt for it?…

“Our aim is to provide the quintessential daily guide to the best the medium has to offer, so that you don’t have to wade through a swamp of video nonsense to get to the good stuff…”

The site has links to video from the likes of Time Magazine, National Geographic, the New York Times and the Washington Post amongst others.

Once again, plenty of short clips to download free on a wide range of subjects.


And finally, anyone searching for examples of video news footage could do worse than go to

16 different news categories to choose from each containing a selection of short videos available to download free.



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