Edward R. Murrow Sociology

Decent Essays
To complete the service-learning component of this course, I assisted Dr. Finley in conducting research used to create an encyclopedia of documentary films on the subject of crime or the criminal justice system. Documentary filmmaking is one of the oldest forms of motion picture. In 1919, when motion pictures were in their infancy, a Russian filmmaker by the name of Dziga Vertov criticized the Soviet film industry for creating the same fiction found in theaters and in literature instead of documenting real life events. He likened film dramas to religion in that they are the “opium of the masses”. It was not until 1922 that Robert Flaherty created the first true documentary. Nanook of the North was the first full-length film to use modern techniques, such as third person narration, taking a subjective tone, and using an indigenous person as the film’s hero. (UC Berkeley Media Resources Center, n.d.) While Nanook was the first documentary, it was not until four years later, in 1926, that John Grierson first used…show more content…
Murrow’s series See It Now. Murrow expanded on this new style in 1961 with his hour-long special titled Harvest of Shame. This opened the door for documentarians to expand and change the face of documentary filmmaking. Through the 1960s and 70s, filmmakers covered social and political topics from new points of view, using documentaries as a form of activism and with a focus on the narrative story-telling aspect. The 1980s saw the development of the “mockumentary”, using a script and fictional characters but filmed using the same style as a typical documentary. The 1980s also saw the expansion of PBS funding and production of informative and point-of-view documentaries. More recently, we have entered the age of “reality-TV”, although many would say those shows are more akin to mockumentaries than reality. (UC Berkeley Media Resources Center,
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