Everything you’ve always wanted to know about how to be a TV journalist in the 21st. Century but didn’t know who to ask or STORYTELLING AND THE ANIMA FACTOR
It is a public trust.
It is the watchdog of the public interest.
It is the shining jewel in the crown of democracy.
Without free journalism no other freedoms are guaranteed.
No other freedoms can be protected.
But the freedom to write, to speak, to report on events of the day, is not absolute and can never be absolute.
For the parents of freedom are responsibility and accountability. And it is at the peril of our immortal souls that we journalists betray responsibility and accountability. That we do anything but act as the servants, the surrogates, of the people.
As honourably, as honestly and as fairly as is humanly possible.
The test of free journalism is whether journalists are free to broadcast and write things people — especially the powerful — disagree with.
The free, honest, open, fair dissemination of information through journalism is the only trustworthy guide to where we are and where we’re going.
And that free dissemination of information is both the business of journalism and the true currency of democracy.
It’s called The Free Marketplace of Ideas.
The concept of the Free Marketplace of Ideas holds that journalists seek out and report ideas, beliefs, theories and opinions bubbling away in the society and expose them to the harsh light of public opinion.
The people then freely and openly discuss them.
If the people find the ideas to be good and worthwhile, the Marketplace accepts those ideas and they live, grow and flourish.
If the people find the ideas to be bad and not worthwhile, the Marketplace rejects them and they wither and die.
The important thing is that the people do the judging, make the decisions. Not the government. Not the courts. Not the police. Not the army. Not the churches.
It’s the genius of democracy.
It’s a jewel beyond price.
The Free Marketplace of Ideas has other roles too.
- It’s the only reliable link between those without power and those with power.
- It provides a forum within which journalists report to the people on what the powerful — those who run our society — are doing and saying. And how those words and actions effect the rest of us.
- It keeps the powerful aware of what the people are doing and saying.
- It’s a safety valve for society. When the pressures become too strong, when the tribe is threatened by dissent, it provides an outlet for anger, thus lessening the pressures and the dangers.
- It gives the powerful a chance to act, to respond, to take action to handle and lessen the pressures before they explode.
Only the free finding and reporting of the truth, from all points of view, can protect a democracy from totalitarianism.
Only fully trained, free, dedicated, knowledgeable journalists — coming from and reporting to all the people, constantly questioning the actions and motives of the powerful — can ensure a democratic, open, honest and trustworthy finding and reporting of the truth in our societies.
As St. John thundered in the New Testament (according to hearsay sources neither alive nor present at the time):
The Truth Shall Make You Free.
Tim Knight is an Emmy and Sigma Delta Chi-winning journalist who’s worked as a reporter, writer, producer, interviewer, documentary producer and anchor for Zambia TV, ABC, NBC, PBS and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). Knight has trained thousands of professional broadcast journalists in more than a dozen countries. In 2007 he executive produced, co-directed wrote and narrated the 3-hour wildlife documentary trilogy Inside Noah’s Ark, broadcast on Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, PBS and 10 European networks. Later he was appointed lecturer on TV Documentaries at Wilfrid Laurier University. At the end of 2007, Knight returned to freelancing as an international broadcast journalism trainer. Anthony B. Chan, Head of the University of Washington Journalism Department, describes Storytelling And The Anima Factor as “The best book on TV journalism I have read since I started teaching TV journalism.” www.TimKnight.org
“I find the premise rather intriguing. One of the central problems of TV journalism, as Knight sees it, is that no one really understands it. Gee, maybe that’s why I stopped watching TV news some years ago.”
John Haslett Cuff, TV Columnist, The Globe and Mail
“A short note to tell you how terrific your new book is … I think you’re really on to something about what we do that goes way beyond the 5 Ws and focus and pictures and technique and technology – and somehow bores deep into our storytelling past. Your words, Tim, give me courage.”
Mark Schneider, CTV News Bureau Chief, Vancouver
“Congratulations! It is really amazing. I am very impressed by your clarity, vision and determination.”
Jan Tennant, CBC-TV National News Anchor
“The book, by the way, is terrific. In 40 punchy, racily written, amusing and sometimes highly dramatic chapters Knight tells us what’s wrong with TV news reporting and how to put it right. Read it and you’ll never look at a news broadcast the same way again.”
Ben Viccari, Managing Editor, Canadian Scene (Review in Performing Arts & Entertainment in Canada)
“Those who are concerned about television’s effects on public thought should take note of Tim Knight’s views.”
T. Dan Gardner, Canadian Book Review Annual
“I laughed out loud, winced a bunch and remembered how important this stuff is. I read it cover-to-cover and then read it again. This will be required text for aspiring TV news reporters.”
George B. Orr, Instructor, Broadcast Journalism, British Columbia Institute of Technology
“Your book was well worth the waiting. You have amazingly articulated every serious thought I ever had about TV journalism. Well done.”
Don North, ABC, CBS, NBC Foreign Correspondent
“Time and again, I’ve seen the approach outlined in these pages work magic with TV journalists. It’s a great antidote to cynicism and can rekindle enthusiasm in the crustiest and most jaded – those who’ve lost sight of the meaning of the important work we do. Throughout my career it’s the philosophy and ideas encapsulated in these pages that have taught, illuminated and inspired me the most.”
Norm Bolen, Chairperson, CBC-TV Journalism Training Advisory Committee
“It is both humorously serious and bluntly incisive as it attacks our customary and unexamined way of thinking about TV broadcasting. A beautiful read, it casts a unique lens on today’s realities of TV journalism while presenting an articulate, sensitive, practical inside/out approach to broadcast journalism and getting behind the psyche of the players.”
Dr. Patricia Comley, Ed.D., Applied Psychology, Counseling Education
“His view of how TV news should be done gets its power, in part, from the author’s integrity and his moral world-view. Finally, it is also great fun: Knight’s writing suggests if you approach TV journalism without also having fun, you’re doing it wrong.”
Alan Foster, Director, National Syndication, American Program Service
“Your book will be a welcome text in all television journalism schools in the English-speaking world. It has pizzazz, courage and a mountain of experiential stories that teach, illuminate and even inspire. It is the best text on television journalism that I have read since I started teaching television journalism in the mid-1980s.”
Anthony B. Chan, Head, Broadcast Journalism, University of Washington
“This is what thrills me most about your book – it is challenging, provocative and laden with good ideas for a truly creative approach to television journalism. I can offer it to students in the sure knowledge that it will achieve at least two things; first, it is a darned good read, which means they will approach it with pleasure; second, it is bound to help them to become both better story-tellers and visual literates.”
Lionel Lumb Associate Professor of Journalism, Carleton University, Ottawa
“Storytelling And The Anima Factor is a textbook for a revolution in television. Here, finally, is a book which breaks with the tradition of print to offer a new journalism for a medium we are just beginning to understand. This book should be read by everyone working in television. Hell, it should be read by everyone who wants to work in television. The viewers would be grateful.”
Mac Rymal, Instructor, Department of Journalism, Vancouver Community College
“What you are postulating is a valid and long-overdue reassessment of TV news processing; I heartily concur with your critique and know it needs to be hammered home among broadcasters – not to mention current journalism students. In fact, I think young journalists – and those older ones wise enough to see that what’s going on is not working – are hungry for your message.”
Lynne Van Luven, Assistant Professor of Journalism, Carleton University, Ottawa