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Sir John Cass Department of Art, Media and Design


JCAMD academic features on BBC Radio 3

Elaine Pierson, Senior Lecturer in the Sir John Cass Department of Art, Media and Design (JCAMD), was invited to appear on Night Waves, Radio 3's flagship arts and ideas programme, to discuss the current state of the ethics of television editing.

The item, which was broadcast on 17 September, was inspired by recent high profile revelations about documentaries misrepresenting their subjects and the banning of some editing techniques by Five News.

Elaine, who teaches on the media courses offered by JCAMD and is a specialist in the ethics of news editing and documentary film making, was invited by programme makers on the basis of her research profile on London Met’s website and her many years of practical experience as news editor for the BBC prior to her academic career.

Speaking of the issue Elaine said: ‘The media’s focus is on banning the most transparent editing techniques such as "noddies" and "walking shots" whilst overlooking the much more potentially manipulative techniques that editors can and do use to influence the audience. It is also a gross error to believe that it is the editor alone who is responsible for the final product.

‘All filmmakers operate within a context of pictures, as "visual shorthand" which the audience will recognise and understand the "creative treatment of actuality" starts when the director decides what images will tell his or her story and continues when the camera person chooses how each shot will look.

‘The edit suite is another subjective process in recreating the "reality". The key question for film-makers is not eliminating obvious editing techniques but ensuring that all those involved in factual film-making are committed to retaining as close to the truth as possible - it is power WITH responsibility.’

20 September 2007

back to News & Events Archive: September 2007

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