Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Now that's real journalistic transparency
So there's this guy named Justin. And he's strapped a video camera to the side of his head. He wears it 24/7 and it broadcasts a live webstream at Justin.TV.
Now, this isn't meant to be a journalistic project in any way. He's basically just wandering around San Francisco recording everything he does. Everything. Going on dates, using the little boys room. You name it. And it's oddly compelling viewing.
I've been hearing about him for the last few days, but just decided to pop in on the site today. And he's got a photographer and videographer following him around, presumably for a news story. The project was picked up by the AP yesterday, and an article ran yesterday in the San Francisco Gate.
But here's the thing. You don't get to see Justin very often. The camera sees what he's looking at. The clerk int he coffee shop; the street he's walking on. And in this case, the journalists who are following him around.
You can hear them ask him questions, see them taking shots, and hear his responses. If you ever get around to reading the article or watching the news broadcast, you'll have a good sense of exactly what went into it. While I've decided to post some extended versions of interviews I conduct on this website, Justin's got me beat here.
One of the things I've discovered about reporting is that sometimes asking a stupid question elicits the best response. Sure, you should do your homework and thoroughly research a topic before talking to experts. But asking a question you already know the answer to gets you good tape. And asking a question that makes you sound like an idiot often gets a great response as your subject feels the need to explain everything to you like you're a small child.
If more people were walking around with cameras on their heads, would journalists feel the need to ask questions that make them look smart? I kind of hope not. But I'm fascinated watching Justin interact with these reporters. Right now he's asking them questions about how they got into journalism, name-dropping the networks he's already spoken to as he goes.