9 ‘Rules’ of the New Gonzo

By Graham Phillips 

On the new style of journalism – it takes elements of the original Gonzo, adapts for purpose –

1.  You don’t need to belong to any journalistic organisations, have any accreditation, or even have studied journalism – but you can if you like. You do need to know what you’re doing. If starting without the above, shadow a more experienced colleague, refine your own style.

2. You do need your own style – this only comes from time in the field, so get out there.

3. You don’t follow the position of any government, media, propaganda – you report the facts as they are. To do that, you do .4 –

FUPzfC14269724204. You get to the place the news happens. Film your own footage, take your own photos, speak to witnesses, tweet from the scene, record as much as you can from the scene. You don’t defer to establishment journalists. They’ll breeze into places in minivans, put on airs, ask you to ‘keep out of shot’, try to push ahead of you at the press conference with an air of entitlement. Don’t let them – every journalist at the scene is equal, stand your ground, get a better piece than them.

5. You don’t follow establishment rules – standard journalistic conventions, Geneva Conventions etc – these are not for the New Gonzo journalist. You set your own ethics, high, break all the old-school rules freely.

6. You can embed – don’t be afraid of getting close to one side if it gets you better footage. You know the objectivity is in the footage, and you do what you can to get the best footage possible.

7. It’s not just a job – you live what you do do, there’s no such thing as a holiday, because it’s not work, it’s your life.

8. You can put yourself in the story – put yourself, your emotions in, get involved in the story if you need to. Don’t let the camera put a wall between you and events. Be real.

9. Be objective. Be good. Report what you’ve filmed – you let your camera record it all, you don’t censor. And you let your camera do good – film people in need, help them if you can.

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