Blog Discussion #2

Hi all —

Please read this blog entry on video ethics and weigh in on the comments board here by the end of the day ( 5 p.m.) on Friday.





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7 Responses to Blog Discussion #2

  1. I think this was a great catch by Navin. To watch the show and catch this after a second run through requires a really nice eye. That said, I believe that making a mistake such as using a duplicate scene in a multimedia piece that includes video can be potentially damaging to a journalist’s career. A mistake like this would strip a journalist of any trust he/she has built up with the audience.

    Not only that, but it changes the perception of the feature. It alters the story and changes it into something that isn’t accurate. The scene was set where the man shooting the video set up his camera, chased off and reset again. But the resetting was the same shot. It goes to show that if one makes a mistake like this and allows it to be published, someone will find your error and make you look bad. Destroying your credibility and any momentum in your career. Beyond that, it is not ethical to commit such a stupid crime. A journalist should know better than that!

  2. kdruar says:

    As Tyler did, I have to applaud Navin’s eye. That was a great catch. I think Buchanan’s predicament wasn’t laziness, but rather a creative license one. As a filmmaker, I know it can be very hard to give up a vision of a shot that you had in your head. He may have realized when he went back to edit, he did not have the proper shots to put together the sequence. I think that now the line between filmmaker and journalist is getting blurred. As Navin said, more and more journalists are being given video cameras and with this the rules are being re-written once again.

    That said, I wholeheartedly agree that this is not something you should do when you are a journalist. It’s a risky move to lie to your audience faces. If this was a film, it’d be one thing to re-use a shot, but when you are supposed to be educated the audience, one lie and your credibility is gone.

  3. Micah Levine says:

    Perhaps it’s because I’m an obsessive movie watcher, but I’m really sensitive to things like duplicated shots. It seriously hampers the continuity of what you’re watching, and the moment continuity is anything but continuous it’s very difficult to pay attention to anything else in a piece. I feel like that is part of what destroys credibility in a piece.

    Especially in the world of journalism maintaing credibility is essential. even the smallest lie to the audience unravels the entire idea of credibility to a piece. It’s necessary to be aware of all details especially when you are now being expected to now how to do everything even if it isn’t your strongest medium.

  4. Daniel Lajoie says:

    As everybody else has stated, you have to applaud Navin for catching that error. I had to watch it two or three times before I even noticed the mistake and I almost didn’t catch it at all. I agree with Navin when he says how difficult it is to edit video just by the short amount of time we have spent trying to edit Video Project 1. During my internship in the summer, I would have have people edit highlights for me, and I would just tell them what clips I wanted. If I had to do it myself, it would have looked really choppy and unprofessional.

    I do find what Gordon Buchanan did to be extremely unprofessional. It immediately makes you lose credibility as a journalist, something that can damage your career. Deceiving the viewer is never a good idea, even though most of the time you can get away with it. As Chris Palmer wrote, this is the tip of the iceberg: fraud is rampant in documentaries. Navin has quite the eye by pointing out Buchanan’s mistake and Buchanan’s credibility certainly took a hit for his blunder

  5. Alexa Hoyle says:

    I’m the type of person who usually picks up on these types of things so I understood what Navin was saying upon first viewing of the video. I think that this is incredibly unprofessional. But I almost think it’s worse because of the :30 seconds the video spent following him as he literally ran after the otter only to set the shot up in the same place. Why even take those action shots if you don’t intend to follow through?

    I understand shooting is hard, and especially shooting unpredictable animals, but there’s no excuse for this type of short cut. I just don’t know how he thought no one would notice – it wasn’t exactly subtle. Like Dan said, this just hurts his credibility so much over something he definitely could have prevented. Personally i’d rather put the work in than be exposed as a fraud.

  6. Remy Schwartz says:

    I fully agree with ‘kdruer’ on this one. I think that establishing the line between journalist and everything else is very important when discussing ethics. If this was a report about Syria and this same shortcut appeared I would jump on the ethics offensive. However, this is a clip from a nature show. I don’t know much about the show itself, but based on the combination of narration and music I have to assume it is intended as entertainment.

    I think this is a shortcut taken by someone making a goofy nature show, not reporting for the web edition of the Times. Is it because the show is on PBS Navin is so disturbed the cheating?

    The comparison that comes to mind is the show Man vs. Wild on the Discovery Channel, a supposedly non-fiction outdoor survival show. A few years into the making of that show some controversy broke about them staging situations and filming near cities. Soon after they had to start posting a disclaimer that some content on the show are fake.

    I do not advocate cheating at all, especially in journalism. Maybe Gordon needs a disclaimer? Maybe there is one in the credits. I somewhat expect it from shows like this. Nature is beautiful and breathtaking, but its gradual. To make a nature show interesting they must have to shoot hundreds of hours of film for one hour of edited material. I assume all nature shows are edited down the same way reality TV is. Maybe I viewed this in the wrong light, but I didn’t take this as hard news breaking basic rules of ethics.

  7. Dylan Merry says:

    Unfortunately, this problem is rampant in journalism. A glaring example is the audio we listened to in class with the canned gunfire. As students we should be able to differentiate valid journalism and invalid journalism. Once you figure out that a piece of journalism is tinkered with it immediately loses its credibility.

    With this nature show example, there is a fine line in the editing process. Like Remy said, I assumed that this show was edited just like reality TV, they naturally would cut corners for whatever reasons. When shows do this, they need disclaimers so they avoid the chopping block and being labeled as “cheaters”.

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