Via News Blues, word of a VeeJay doing it his way. Stanley Roberts was but a KRON photog when the station suits bought into the VJ Principle - you know, the assertion by Michael Rosenblum that TV news outlets should abandon the two person news crew for multi-tasking solo-journalists. Like alot of us, big strapping Stanley was skeptical of the wholesale shift to new age one-man-bands, but - probably fond of his paycheck - stuck around for the ensuing VJ bootcamp. I for one, am rather glad he did. Why? Because Stanely Roberts has clearly found his groove. In doing so he's helped forge a new form of television reportage that has nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with bubbleheaded bleach blondes. Witness:
In February, Roberts pitched a series to his bosses, street level examples of citizens brazenly defying the law and logic called "People Behaving Badly". They bit, he hit the streets and less than year later his quirky body of work has captured the attention of viewers in San Francisco as well as YouTubers the globe over. Now, this ain't your father's franchise piece. A bit stilted and far from polished, "PBB" focuses on young Americans embroiled in Darwinism at large. 'Think MTV's "Jackass" meets Candid Camera.' is how the surly editor of News Blues so aptly put it - and who'd disagree with him? I won't - even if the uncoventional camera management at hand does nags a my inner cinematographer. But then again, perhaps that's the point.
Talented individuals have been turning news storis all by their lonesome ever since Al Gore's forefathers hammered out the very first test pattern. Rather un-humbly, I count myself a proud member of that solo breed. But it's a much-compressed POV that's kept me at odds with Rosenblum's VJ model. I wish not to trade in my heavy lens for a toy. Neither do I want to watch a newscast comprised solely of magic laptop backpack schmournalists. VJ's - especially seasoned photogs who write and think - can be potent force-multipliers and bring a singular verve to the drabbest of 'casts. Stanley Roberts appears to be just such an example - a hulking lenslinger with an eye for the absurd. "People Behaving Badly" may not be masterpiece theater but it's a (dutch-oven) blast to absorb - especially when compared to the over-teased, toothless dreck that so often passes for broadcast news these days...
Consider me a fan, Stanley.