This week I will be discussing the key process of location based storytelling found both in the factual subsidiaries of the Visual and Sound medium to convey a current issue or event via the relevant locale to further visualise the story being conveyed. Both Radio 1’s newsbeat as well as the alternative media coverage website and now newly formed television broadcaster Vice both utilise location at the heart of their reporting to assure an emphasis on audience immersion via the respective platforms, one of the many elements of success while telling a story.
I had a listen to one of BBC Radio 1’s numerous episodes of Newsbeat, Radio 1’s alternative answer to TV news in a short length contained but ultimately engaging package. As newsbeat is part of the radio 1 output it shares the same need “to entertain and engage a broad range of young listeners with a distinctive mix of contemporary music and speech.” (BBC,2017) Newsbeat being a current news provider meets this remit to engage a younger audience with a fast paced and easy to digest news production that centres an emphasis on sound actuality to transport the listener to the scene of a story. I’m sure all those across the UK will now be more than familiar with Doris, and no that’s not the nice old lady that lives down the road that gives you a fiver from time to time but a “Weather bomb” sized storm that swept through the large portions of the UK this week bringing with it powerful winds and torrential rain with it, causing a “day of travel chaos, with commuters waiting hours for trains in crowded stations, flights cancelled and roads clogged, may have cost in excess of £400million in total.” (Dailymail,2017) Newsbeat reported on this story by whipping across the uk to collect short sound bite vox-pops from the public on their less than favourable experiences with storm Doris. The report also includes a reporter who was sent to Blackpool and more than likely asked to stand in the worst possible position to really capture the scale of the storm. The sounds of strong winds and violent waves of the Blackpool coastline can be heard in the background as the reporter rather difficultly details the scale of the storm. All these interview clips and location reporting being heavily interwoven with the sounds of the storm really captures the foreboding nature of Doris that the actuality conveys while also simultaneously conveying the thoughts and feelings of the public across the UK. Ultimately engaging the audience via informative content on the storm relayed by the bewildered public and reporter while at the same time transporting the listener into the heart of the chaos.
The short Vice doc I chose to delve into told a very different story via the visual medium, rather than a news report on devastating storms Vice being risky but very insightful based one such short documentary on a current socio-political subject around a group of anarchists occupying various multi-million real estate properties owned by millionaires but rarely used. I will be the first one to say I’m a massive fan of Vice, I use this word very rarely but “Edgy” reporting just suits their remit (if they had one that is). Every single piece of content from this media institution whether in article or video form never fails to captivate me with its completely engaging content. Whether its focus being on drug abuse or the current political climate Vice always conveys a real eye opener into the murky and at times shady side of the world we live in. Describing itself as “Original reporting and documentaries on everything that matters in the world.” (Vice,2017) the documentary I watched for this blog is no exception to that rule with the focus on an anarchist group whose activities include occupying the numerous empty large houses in London to free it up for the homeless. The documentary takes a simple but effective approach to its location storytelling by following round one of the anarchist members in the estate as he explains the motives for breaking into the building as well as detailing his drive to see homeless off the streets. “It is criminal that there are so many homeless people and at the same time so many empty buildings. Our occupation is highlighting this injustice.” (TheGuardian,2017) explains one of the anarchist members giving an insight into the reasoning behind these acts. The documentary effectively places the audience directly in the heart of the story by filming the whole video inside the gigantic sprawling house where even at one point the activist himself gets lost in the maze-like labyrinth of the building, further relaying the scale of the estate that was once empty but is now full of those less fortunate. One such individual called Grant who explains his history of drug addiction became homeless and has now taken up residence in the estate. As an audience, you can’t help but feel some remorse to some of these forgotten people who have lived through such hardship who have been denied access to the most basic living conditions, to now be surrounded by the long corridors and gaping rooms of a luxury estate which the documentary captures via its extensive use of cutaways. Documenting the harrowing image of rich luxury contrasted with the poverty-stricken roughness of the squatters, painting an insightful and engaging visualisation of the real divide of realities that those on the opposite sides of the money ladder face.