The media is too concentrated; too few people own too much. There’s really five companies that control 90 percent of what we read, see and hear. It’s not healthy.” So says Ted Turner, the (liberal) media tycoon and founder of CNN.
Further to that I, as a journalist want to add that the media is a powerful force shaping our culture and the mindsets of future generations - and not always for the good. Christians need to take back the media and will only successfully do so with a Biblical worldview and a spirit of excellence that underpins all they do.
A village of skills, info and talent
Media Village is an impressive organisation doing just that. Committed to equipping students with vital skills across all media (radio/TV/film/print etc), this training centre is growing in stature, strength and significance. Founded in 1995 and headed up by Graham and Diane Vermooten, Media Village is making its mark in South Africa and across the globe through quality productions (they regularly film Christian events, corporate videos and international documentaries) and impressive media graduates.
From humble beginnings...
A dynamic duo, Graham and Diane have given their lives to furthering the call of Christ through media. Training as youth directors with YFC, the pair met and married 27 years ago. Discovering God’s calling for their lives lay in a global destiny they joined YWAM. Modern day scribes, the Vermootens, their staff and team of trainees document the stories of our time. Their holistic approach to media has resulted in journalists, filmmakers, presenters and photographers entering the secular and Christian media worlds with a comprehensive skills set, hands-on experience and Christ-centered values. A formidable combination!
Toward world-class training
Practically speaking, students sign up for at least a year of training in various disciples (such as communications, digital video production, radio broadcasting, journalism, photography, etc). They are also developing a degree programme, a ‘gap-year’ programme and short seminars.
The skills and training that students received is comparable, and dare I say better, than many universities and training colleges offering the same modules. One of the reasons for this is the hands-on training that students receive. Working with state of the art equipment, students participate in actual productions and are trained by industry experts in their respective fields. Their campus is situated in Cape Town, where students are accommodated, fed and trained in a magnificent setting.
The organisation has a selective screening process and only accepts students committed to their craft and passionate about their calling. Students from all around the world attend Media Village, bringing the international flair and perspective so necessary in media.
Dedicated to making an impact
The Vermooten’s are dedicated to empowering those from disadvantaged backgrounds and hence subsidise the tuition of several students. Their investment over the years has certainly paid off, as Media Village is highly respected in the industry. Graduates are easily placed in jobs and the production company is regularly used to film events, adverts, short-films and corporate functions. Their numerous industry awards are testament to their quality of work.
Having worked in media for many years, I often encounter poorly trained journalists, low-budget productions and inferior content. My interaction with the Media Village crew has been completely different. Their productions are world-class. I cannot think of a better place for a Christian wanting to work in media to be trained at.