Game Changers Guest Post: David Dunkley Gyimah

NOTE: We asked each of our 2009 Game Changers Awards finalists to write about their projects, what they’ve learned along the way and what’s next. This essay written by David Dunkley Gyimah at

We tell stories. Everything we do is about stories. From the young child skipping home from school, the mother navigating a hard day’s work, James Joyce’s epic Ulysses to the shortest passage in the bible: Jesus wept. It’s story telling.

We tell stories across different media: Designers through space, image and text; artists through bold or subtle gestures of paint, sculptures, digital ones and zeros; dancers through the contours of their bodies, and today’s journalists, through an emerging basket of digital goods.

The stories we tell are shaped by their medium, Marshall McLuhan said as much in his medium is the message. Critic Andre Bazin extolled the language of Cinema and Muhammad Ali across a throng of Harvard students regaled us with “Me, we.” – the shortest poem there is.

Ever so often, as rare perhaps as a total eclipse, the seeds of something new are sown. The 20th century philosopher Thomas Kuhn referred to this growing swell of change as the paradigm shift, the breaking down of an old established convention.

The grand centuries 13th, 17th and 21st come to mind.  Respectively, they signify an end to ignorance and the burning of books, the renaissance in many forms, and the explosion of the Internet.

Within those centuries, there been other changes as significant as that which the US is in the throes of experiencing post election.

The practise of journalism, telling stories with renewed purpose has its roots in Guttenberg’s press. Today a different Guttenberg is taking hold influencing well established forms e.g. television, film, design and print.

And there are new custodians looking to see how they might advance, in as much tap its potential. Young, old, traditional and contemporary, a new culture is emerging.

And from within that we see the makers of paradigms, represented indeed on the pages of wemedia, and interstices of the web.

I truly do not know that which warrants the title game changer for me. For in truth there are no new philosophies my end, only a broadside view of the past and how that affects a present slice of my future work.

I also suffer from an overactive imagination so if journalism, story telling, took on the semblances of Star Trek, I’d be content. and blog is my sandpit, my own secret Harry porter world, where I scheme and plot an escape. It was born out of necessity. I couldn’t get a job in spite of a background spent in the media and I couldn’t get seen; I have a mountain of rejections, so I asked my alter ego what if we could put my work online.

Over the years I sought answers for disrupting the exposition for online film making, looked at the new aesthetic of news, how audio and film could be linked to one another in video hyperlinking and talked about such things as the Outernet and Vlog butterfly for which painfully I’m now pursuing as a Phd. Doh!

I worked with groups in Africa: Ghana and South Africa on their first co-production using video journalism; in Egypt where SE0 could extend the impact of the blog article and the video; and more recently in Podgorica, Montenegro – how media could be produced and owned at dirt cheap prices.

And along the route, some of those ideas have found their way into my core work now as a university lecturer and trainer. Some, ethereal, looking at creativity, others more fixed and tangible.

The luxury I had was initially not being aligned with a company, a corporate POV. Thus I have simply made up my ideas, so video journalism has become an iterative process of mashing up one media to another.  It has been, speaking as an Applied Chemistry graduate my own laboratory, morphing into the likes of Integrated multimedia video journalism.

For the nomination to the august event, I am so deeply humbled an honoured, but I have de facto found a new comfort zone, the chance to tell at least one more person that anyone can do this.

And that in itself is a story, my story.

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