Monthly Archives: April 2014

The generational transition

The future of journalism is a topic at the forefront of media related discussions. In March 2014 “New York Times” columnist David Carr and Bloomberg Media chairman Andrew Lack discussed how new technology is revitalising the media. Making it more interesting and engaging rather than less. It was refreshing to hear Carr and Lack optimistically discuss how digital technology is part of the media’s natural evolution. Generally speaking the reception towards some new media technologies and ‘millennials’ from older generations hasn’t been warm, but criticising the next step and the next wave of workers isn’t exactly unheard of…

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Millennials (a.k.a. the Millennial Generation or Generation Y) are the demographic cohort following Generation X. As the next generation begins to infiltrate and dominate the workforce there always seems to be some resistance from the previous generation, as can be expected. I believe some of the negativity surrounding the future of journalism has to do with this resistance (of course it may only be a small factor). In 1968 a Life cover story said 20-somethings would never understand making a living. In 1976 Tom Wolfe, for New York magazine, referred to the 70’s as the ‘Me’ Decade. While millennials have been titled ‘collaborative, determined, and a multitasking group’ a May 2013 Time article labelled them as ‘Generation Me’.

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Bruce Tulgan, an expert on young people in the workplace, states that ‘media jobs are a good fit for millennials’. He notes that they have learned to think “inside the information environment” and are far more familiar with digital mediums than their predecessors. Millennials are entering the workforce at a time when the production of media is more prominent than ever before. Tulgan states that millennials have developed exceptional research and media production skills at a younger age, making them ideal journalists for new media models (i.e. Facebook and Google)The traditional media model, seemingly predominated by Generation X, still clings to the idea of periodical premium content. This is becoming more and more irrelevant with the immediacy of real time content. My optimistic view (I would like a media job someday please) is that while this transitional period may be tough on working millennials, the outcome could be a tech savvy and convergent communications industry primed for our strengths (fingers crossed).

Like Lack mentions in this video, old media and new media are old terms. The walls are coming down and changes are occurring… its all part of the medias ‘natural evolution’. With any revolution there is going to be resistance and there are going to be challenges. We have seen this before and we will see it again. I am certainly excited to witness and experience these changes for myself… c’mon millennials!

Do you think media millennials can shift traditional legacy media into a more dynamic and convergent future? Do you think millennials have the power to reboot an inherited world in decline? The campaign below aims to inspire millennials in the US to create a change for their future, does it inspire you?

References –

Forbes Magazine – http://www.forbes.com/sites/work-in-progress/2014/04/21/are-millennials-just-gen-x-with-hipper-clothes/

NYT’s David Carr on the Future of Journalism – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPlazqH0TdA

 

 

 

 

 

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Journalists answer and artists question

Aesthetic Journalism generally involves artistic practices used to investigate social, cultural and political circumstances. Artists, like journalists, oftenperception-plaatje-aangepast use tools of investigation, such as field research and surveys, to gain more information on their topic.  The end result of this research is then usually displayed in the art context, for example a documentary style video, graphic visuals or photography. An artist’s work often offers a grasp on reality, relying on the viewer’s receptivity. Aesthetics are the process in which we open our sensibilities to the diversity of the forms of nature and convert them into a tangible experience. It may sound confusing but for some it is just a natural response. Just think of all the times you have viewed art, more often than not it becomes more of a physical and sensory experience. You are more in touch with the way the work makes you feel. You can grasp fragments of represented truths and build upon them yourself. Engaging your own perceptions, producing your own actions and experiencing awareness to your impulses.

When you intake your daily digest of representation via TV and newspapers, do you feel connected to the news story? Does it evoke a sensory experience? Does it make you feel aware of your feelings towards the topic? Do you feel as if you get to build your own interpretive perspective? Maybe not… the current trend of event reporting is problematic for this very reason. There is no space for critical distance. The information is produced, distributed and absorbed. Mainstream journalism is almost stuck in a world of familiar narrative forms that continue to reoccur in the routine of daily news. Mainstream journalists are experiencing the responsibility to tell one truth from an individual point of view. So if journalism at large is a view of the world, of what happens within it and its representations, then aesthetics is rather a view of the view.

Flusser (2000) says we need to query not the way art and journalism transforms the world but the way they can transform the meaning of the world. Does creativity have the power to generate a space for communication where before there was none? For centuries art has had the ability to evoke discussion and validate topics that are deemed too uncomfortable or unacceptable for the news arena. Art doesn’t deliver us information like journalism rather it questions information. It does not replace the journalistic perspective with a new one, but rather extends the possibility of understanding. If artists continue to challenge the aesthetic view could they tempt mainstream journalism out of it’s repetitive routine, into a new approach?

Cramerotti, Alfredo, 2011, “What is Aesthetic Journalism”, Aesthetic Journalism: How to Inform Without Informing, Intellect, London

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Journalism’s Journey

Journalism is on a journey, and it seems to be sharing the path with more travellers than expected.

There are many terms used to describe contributions to online newspaper content. Jay Rosen (2006) describes these contributors as “the people formerly known as the audience”. Some call it “user generated content” others “citizen journalism”, while some like the term “produsage”, which highlights the combination of producing and consuming information (Bruns 2008; 2005).

Another term is “participatory journalism”. In today’s society, with the aid of new media platforms and compare1technologies, people inside and outside the newsroom are engaging more and more with each other. These people are participating. They’re creating online networks and multifaceted communities where a range of news can be observed, reported on, discussed and criticised.

 So what does this mean for institutional journalism? They are facing a serious challenge to their social function by an activity parallel to their own. Audience participation is redefining the journalistic culture, their values and their practices (Domingo et al 2008). How are the institutional journalists responding to this change?

 Gatekeeping is defined as “the process by which the vast array of potential news messages are winnowed, shaped, and prodded into those few that are actually transmitted by news media” (Shoemaker et al 2001). In a 2008 study titled ‘Participatory Journalism Practices In The Media And Beyond: An international comparative study of initiatives in online newspapers’ (Domingo et al 2008) the results suggested that institutional journalists and agencies were withholding their control over the content they released. The features these institutions would provide to let citizens produce the content themselves were mostly just invitations to submit audio-visual materials, story ideas, links to social networking sites and space for citizen blogs. Few of the online newspapers they looked at used tools for community building or encouraged participatory journalism.

It is now 2014, as journalism becomes more and more “participatory”, the volume of information to be filtered can become overwhelming for gatekeepers. Making it harder and harder to maintain control over it. If media agencies do not provide tools online for citizens to contribute, the citizen will just go elsewhere. To online communities designed for participation.

In the past few years ordinary people have captured and published, in words and images, stories of serious global
picture7 impact. Most of the time the audience has captured these  moments in real time, experiencing it first hand only moments  after it has happened. Terrorist attacks on the commuters of  Madrid and London, abuse of prisoners at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib  prison, the chaos surrounding elections in Iran and many  different natural disasters. They have carried on millions of  newsworthy conversations through discussion forums, comment  threads and blogs. Institutional journalism is right to feel  threatened. It will have to adapt alongside these monumental changes in communication technology, like it has done throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, if it wants to stay relevant and necessary to this complex and digitalising society.

Bruns, Axel (2005) Gatewatching: Collaborative online news production, New York: Peter Lang

Bruns, Axel (2008) Blogs, Wikipedia, Second Life and beyond: From production to Produsage, New York: Peter Lang

David Domingo, Thorsten Quandt, Ari Heinonen, Steve Paulussen, Jane B. Singer & Marina Vujnovic (2008) “Participatory Journalism Practices In The Media And Beyond” Journalism Practice, 2;3, 326-342

Rosen, Jay (2006) The People Formerly Known as the Audience, Press Think

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