Behind the scenes of the RTBF teams reporting in Ukraine: an initiative to make our professions understood

Behind the scenes of the RTBF teams reporting in Ukraine: an initiative to make our professions understood

Our goal is not to be navel-gazing, to put ourselves forward, but to talk about our job(s), to show how we work, the reality on the ground, the editorial choices. It is important for us to explain transparently with what editorial intention we go to the field in Ukraine.”

Laura Canducci is an editorial assistant in charge of social networks. And she underlines it from the outset, on social networks, and certainly even more so on new platforms, there is a search for authenticity, “without filter”, transparency, to understand “how we do it”, and in all the domains.

►►► This article is not an information article like the others: everything on the Inside approach of the editorial staff here

So she wanted to seize the opportunity and she proposed to Aurélie Didier, world editorial manager, Wahoub Fayoumi, international journalist, Garry Wantiez, sound engineer and Joséphine Turli, cameraman, who were leaving for Ukraine to make reports on the first year of Russian invasion of Ukraine, to lend themselves to the exercise.

“At first, I was reluctant” explains Aurélie Didier “because what counts in my opinion are the testimonies of Ukrainians, civilians and soldiers. This is what must be put forward, and we, we must remain humble and sober”.

show reality

With Laura, they have therefore agreed to keep this philosophy while showing the reality of the team’s work: highlighting editorial choices, the search for testimonials, contacts, with the addition of security aspects which are important for the good accomplishment of a mission of this type… In short, part of everything that happens behind the images that we discover on the news and on the other RTBF media.

The idea takes shape: make a video, long format, for YouTube, where RTBF Info now has its channel.So far, it was mostly news stories that were published there. In search of new formats, we thought it was a good opportunity to try to do a “behind the scenes” subject around Ukraine, where various reporters have gone many times since the start of the war.

Close collaboration

Discussion then, then elaboration of a framework. The team, who left with an iPhone kit and microphones, light equipment in addition to the usual equipment, sent videos and plans as soon as they arrived on site. And with the editor Isabelle Warnotte, in Brussels, Laura got down to building a sequence project, a screenplay.

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Halfway through our mission“, explains Aurélie Didier, “we got feedback on what we had already shot, and suggestions for additional filming”. On Form : “bring dynamism, get out of the JT subject style and in front of the cameras. The idea is really to get people on board“, adds Laura Canducci.

With Isabelle Warnotte, they were responsible for adding maps, explanatory subtitles, dressing. And, says Aurélie Didier, “With Garry and Wahoub, I partly took charge of the shooting of the images and sequences, because the camera operator Joséphine Turli already had more than enough to do with the shooting of the images for the TV reports“.

No gear down

Still, shooting a “behind the scenes” video cannot be done in all circumstances. And Laura Canducci is fully aware of this: “on our side, there is never any pressure to carry out this type of sequences. In any case, I really hope that it is well understood by our teams. Not all reports lend themselves to this, and there is no reason to multiply them either.

” Effectivement “, confirms journalist Eric Destiné, from the international unit. He left for Turkey in an emergency, with camerawoman/editor Sibel Ceylan, to cover the earthquakes that hit Turkey and Syria at the beginning of February and circumstances did not allow a backstage type sequence.

Leave as soon as possible, to testify

“The two of us left, just a few hours after the first earthquake was announced to be there as quickly as possible”explains the journalist. “We directly spent all our time working to provide reports for our platforms in conditions that can be described as extreme.

We had to, with the help of the production team in Brussels, settle the logistics directly on the spot such as the organization of our trips, find accommodation, make contacts to target the angles of our reports, … All this with many difficulties because a large part of the infrastructure was destroyed. It took us a considerable amount of time in addition to our journalistic production work.

Distress of populations

And then there is the enormous emotional charge.“The distress with which we were directly confronted was such that it was also not desirable, in this case, to communicate on the organization of our work or on our difficulties, because that remained without common measure with what that lived people directly affected by these earthquakes”.

Of course, answers Laura Canducci. “And we want to avoid any misunderstanding: adding mental load to the teams is not our goal, quite the contrary. Our desire is to move forward together, when and only “if” it is feasible.”

The mental load: whatever we do, it remains present

Light equipment, some scenario ideas, and then… Suddenly you realize that it takes time. And that it actually comes in addition to requests for radio, TV, the web and that, all the same, we are in a war zone, with all that that implies in terms of personal security to ensure” continues Aurélie Didier. The mental workload is automatically increased and it is necessary to make choices and take the time to do things well on the pitch.

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This was feasible throughout the mission, because we were leaving to produce reports for the anniversary of the start of the war, because we know the Ukrainian terrain which is not new to us, and moreover , on the said day (February 24), I limited myself to doing live broadcasts and we were therefore able to do some filming behind the scenes“.

A whole team

To say, too, that the teams, apart from journalists, are not used to putting themselves forward. Interviews in general, they do them but they don’t give any. “We decided to do the interviews with Garry and Joséphine while walking, it’s easier, more natural. But it is important for us to show that there is a whole team behind a report and not just a journalist in front of the camera. And it’s the whole team that participates in the development of the report, in security and in the daily decision on mission.”

Always on the alert

And that’s what Joséphine Turli explains in the video posted on YouTube: “we are always prepared for an immediate departure. The car is equipped, turned in the right direction for a hasty departure, the road plan is made. And a tracker is integrated into it”.

The team thus has trackers, which therefore allow the editorial office in Brussels to always know where it is; “even if in some cases and for security reasons, we cut off all forms of geolocation” explains Aurélie Didier.

Careful preparation

Each trip is meticulously prepared “And we always try to improve.Because the better we are prepared, the better we can react to the unexpected and above all, the better we can be mentally available to do our job and collect the painful testimonies of the people we meet.

This is what the team always tries to do: to make the population’s feelings understood, whatever the situation, as Garry Wantiez and Joséphine Turli tell us: “at the checkpoints, the soldiers always tell us good luck. And then there is this waiter who one morning when asked how he is doing simply replies “still alive”.

Research what interests our audiences

“These are the beginnings, we seek, we grope, and we see what arouses interest, while respecting the daily work of our teams”, concludes Laura Canducci. “Our desire is to innovate, to be curious, to discover, to tell how things really go. And all ideas are welcome.

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►►► This article is not an info article like the others… INSIDE, the journalists of the daily news take up their pens – and take a step back – to unveil behind the scenes of the profession, answer your questions and reflect, with you, on their practices. More information : To be.And for your questions about our processing of information: it’s here.

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