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Dougal Shaw: “Mojo is simple and not only for journalists”


Francesco Facchini
Dougal Shaw: “Mojo is simple and not...

Some time ago I met one of the most talented mobile journalists in the world: it’s Dougal Shaw from BBC.

I met him in Paris, at the conference The Video Mobile 2019. Being around him for a few hours, seeing him at work in his workshop, during which he shared the secrets of his mojo, was a great gift. He is a great journalist, with a marked sensitivity for stories that have the right characteristics to travel far away on social media. What am I talking about? Of stories that are close to us, of stories that have a community behind and that need a spotlight to reveal themselves.

I studied him at the workshop

In Paris I worked as a first-class student at his workshop, dissecting his speech word for word. I immediately found the leitmotif of his work, understanding, if I ever needed it, once more that I was in front of a genius. What am I talking about? I’m talking about his constant search for simplicity at the service of history, also passing through a careful but light use of technology. Dougal showed his kit that I work that goes all in one backpack and showed how that backpack can meet all his needs freeing him from heavy equipment.

Tech at the service of the story

History, in its work, remains the center and is not “raped” by the arrogance of certain technical means. His mantra is that the technique must end up serving what we are writing in pictures. He doesn’t have to do anything else. What he often repeats is that mobile journalism must be simple and help to think simply. After the hour of workshop, in which I was admired by his ability to make every reasoning lean and effective every movement when he is in the field, I stopped to chat with him to hear what he sees in the present and in the future of mobile journalism. Here is his answer: “The mojo is simple and it is for everyone, even for those who do not believe themselves to be journalists, but they are”. I will broaden the base, therefore, of the target of my work. Just think of “journalism”, this culture is for everyone. Have a good vision.

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