chapter  1
Reportage
Pages 22

T he word ‘reportage’ tends to represent two parallel tracks – the visual and the editorial.It has been used to describe the work of photojournalists and documentary cameramenwho bring a particular vision to their images of the world, from the historic Soviet newsreels compiled by Dziga Vertov to the acclaimed war photographs of Don McCullen. And it is used to credit the longer forms of narrative journalism that bring some authorial insight to bear, whether it is published works, such as those of the Polish journalist Ryszard Kapus´cin´ski, or investigative films, such as those of the campaigning Australian journalist John Pilger. Veteran current affairs producer Ed Braman describes it like this:

I’ve always defined reportage as narrating and filming the moments of engagement. What I mean by that is – ‘We arrived in this place and this is what happened, and this is what we discovered next’. It is the process of reporting as well as what is reported, and the spirit in which it is reported . . . Kapus´zin´ski, absolutely, a great model of reportage. Ed Murrow was a fantastic model of reportage. Fred Friendly, Tom Wolfe – for whom the process was paramount – Joan Didion, whose work on Florida, Miami is fantastic reportage. ‘I engaged with this person, this is what they told me. This is what I learnt about it’. It’s not people or events as fodder in some larger argument promulgated by John Lloyd or Will Hutton. It’s: ‘I actually care about what this person said to me and I care about what I saw, what happened to people’. That’s reportage.2