Jazz Journalists Association Introduces Video Training Program

EyeJazz webinars teach reporting with a pocket cam

Howard Mandel demonstrating the flip camera technology image 0

Howard Mandel demonstrating the flip camera technology

Embracing the social media zeitgeist, the Jazz Journalists Association (JJA) is turning to the people, their flip cams and their smart phones to help jazz stories go viral. Their eyeJazz video project will use webinars and Skype sessions to train budding journalists on the basics of reporting with a portable camera and simple video editing software.

Applicants must be 16-years old or older, demonstrate an interest in jazz and social media and commit to completing all trainings and assignments-no prior experience as a videographer or reporter is required. Thanks to funding from the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation and support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the trainings will be completely free for the 30 chosen students. They will even be sent free pocket video cameras. Applications can be obtained from the project’s website and are due February 15, 2011. Trainings will begin on or about March 15, 2011 and all training requirements must be completed by July 15, 2011.

“I think more people today get their information from video than from any other medium,” says course instructor Bret “theJazzVideoGuy” Primack, “and what we want to do with this project is enable journalists who previously might have utilized print media, to tell their stories on video, so that they can reach a larger audience.”

More than just switching media to jive with the times, Primack wants to use portable, uploadable videography to bring new perspectives into the fold, to “decentralize what’s happening with jazz and the media, because a lot of the stories and coverage of jazz comes from major cities like New York and L.A. and Chicago, whereas with this technology that exists now what we want to do is empower people to let us know what’s happening in other places.”

eyeJazz journalists will not be shooting performance footage but rather, “reportage,” Primack explains, “simple stories that tell the story of musicians or venues or events that are happening around the world.”

Simple is the key. For Primack, eyeJazz is also about taking the fear factor out of reporting. “When people who are new approach the medium, they’re a little bit frightened by, ‘oh I’m going to make a film it’s going to be so hard, it’s got to compare to the work of a Martin Scorsese’ or something like that. What we’re trying to do is empower people using pocket cameras and simple editing programs to tell a very simple story, using very simple equipment that can be posted on the web and seen by anyone in the world.”

Trainings will also be taught by Chicago-based filmmaker and videographer Floyd Webb, social media consultant and online radio and print journalist, JoAnn Kawell and JJA president Howard Mandel. eyeJazz videos will be uploaded to the project’s Facebook page or tweeted using hash tags #eyejazz and #jazzlives.