EAMONN MATTHEWS critically acclaimed producer and programme maker spoke of his pursuit for the truth in journalism and his own risky investigative style of programme making at Coventry Conversations Today.
Following a selection of recent documentary film snippets which covered Witch hunts in Papua New Guinea, Honour Killings in Turkey and the harsh realities of India’s coal mines Matthews explained how Unreported world attempts to bring the truth of a situation from people who are directly affected by it:
“We are trying to give a voice to the millions who don’t have one… We don’t want to experts who say this about the situation, we’re not interested in politicians filtered down view on what’s going on”
Truth was always the focus as Matthews said there is too much opinion in journalism and although it has its place it doesn’t give a real insight into the situation.
He continued to stress the simplicity in the production of his programmes; a two-person team and a basic video camera produce the films. It’s this method that he attributed to the style of unreported world: “You’re experiencing what the reporter is experiencing… we’re not trying to massage reality”
Matthew’s explained how he adopted his style of documentary making, expressing how often the most interesting part of a story can be completely ignored: “The journey can be more revealing than the arrival”. Mentioning how people like Charles Wheeler and John Simpson had inspired him as well as his own time in the BBC to produce these kind of harrowing current affairs programmes.
The talk was underlined by the risky nature of the programmes and the dangers that each reporter faces whilst filming. Throughout he addressed the dangers that we encountered as well as touching on the elaborate risk assessments that have to be carried out before every project. Eventually he tackled the issue by saying: “The only way to get rid of risk completely is to never leave the office”
Speaking to journalism and media students Matthews’ commented on the industry as: “Hugely competitive, hugely demanding and requires a huge amount of Intellectual application”, his advice to students looking for a career in the media was: “Be passionate and do it” stressing the need for students to make their own films and becoming totally immersed in journalism.
A podcast of this and other Coventry Conversation talks are available at the Coventry University ITunes U site.