Backpack Journalism. A Definition.

It occurs to me, particularly after much talk about the subject and my most recent blog, that a definition of “backpack journalism” may be in order. So, backpack journalism is the craft of one properly trained professional using a hand-held digital camera to tell stories in a more immediate, more intimate fashion than is achievable using a larger team with camera person, sound person, correspondent and producer. We do it all and, most importantly, we make the pictures, which are the driving force of visual communication. (There’s a reason they call it tele-VISION.) In the field, a backpack journalist shoots, acquires sound, produces, reports, interviews. Once back from the field, we write the script. In some cases we even narrate the piece. Depending on circumstances, we either edit the piece on our own, or we sit side-by-side with an editor assigned to the task. Backpack journalism is definitely and absolutely not “citizen journalism.”