Hey,you are not from the Mars!
Though, I personally believe that content is the king in any Television production,minimum production quality should be maintained.I,here like to mention the shows based on crime in local TV stations in Calcutta.Everyday,one of such shows closes with uninterrupted praise for their Anchor-producer-Director(all rolled into one)-projected as crusader who fights for justice.Though the show became popular,I personally don’t like their presentation.Anchor as well as reporters are basically arrogant,disrespectful.They often cross their journalistic ethics.To cover these type of sensitive stories,one should avoid usual equipments such as tripods and lighting instruments.So that,subjects can forget about camera’s presence.To shoot in the environment friendly situation,subjects can express themselves naturally.You don’t behave like a crusader.Whether hard news or soft news,tell the story visually.Local crime-investigative shows follow the same pattern.In 30 minute show,they drag a single story-sometimes,viewers feel irritated-bored.If we have enough footages-cutaways,various angle shots( according to vetern news videographer Angela Grant, always try to get at least four shots of every single thing you want to shoot.),we can create impact in mere 180 seconds or 240 seconds.We can easily put 3-4 stories in 30 minutes format.We should be cautious to cover a sensitive story like someone who has just lost his or her loved one or an accused person or one who has been an eyewitness to a tragedy.The question that a senior Journalist ask for himself is how do I do it and still retain my journalistic ethics.Don’t ever shoot anybody without his or her permission-I agree with others that this strategy doesn’t apply to most other situations,but I myself apply this strategy where emotions are running high and the person whose visuals we want to take,is an ordinary person not a public figure. After all we are not here to merely make a living.One should believe in the mission of journalism.
Before every assignment,I feel the urge to follow the procedures mentioned by Radio & Television News Directors Association(RTNDA)such as:
What is the role of video in the story?Does it bring real value?
Is it necessary to use a hidden camera in this story?why?
Does the story involve insignificant Private matters(even if emotional)or are there matters of vital public concern,prevention of profound harm or system failure?
Is the rationale for the story simply to win a prize or beat the competition?
Do your motives involve getting the story quickly and cheaply,rationalizing that others have done it or that the story subjects themselves unethical?
Are hidden-cameras to be used primarily to create drama?Can a visible camera be used with the same impact?
Have you used all traditional means to investigate the story,including interviews and reviewing public records and documents?
What happens if the reporters cover is blown?
Can a reporter lie to maintain his cover?
What happens if the reporter sees a crime being committed?
Where will the camera be used in a public place?quasi Public? Private home?
Will the reporter enter private property without consent or owners to tape?
Will editing be allowed to alter contents?
Though this guidelines are adopted by an American organisation keeping in mind the American perspective and legal system, but I think that Investigative Reporters of other countries who use hidden cameras-spy cams regularly, should follow these guidelines because we in India don’t have any watch dog like print media.