Monday, May 28, 2007

Oh the joy of code

" So why do you do all this?"

A national newspaper editor asked me why I was carrying all this different baggage. You know, the ability to report on radio or TV, produce or direct in either medium, shoot- effectively video journalism... Ok it doesn't stop there but you get the point.

Because, well I guess I'm still a student in a manner of the word and truthfully I can. I recall many years back almost failing my Applied Chemistry degree because a friend studying economics had asked me to help him revise and I got sucked into the vortex of Bretton Woods and money flows. It did me some good as I remember circa 1991 at Newsnight being put in charge of the markets.

Maths, Economics and to that code have always been fascinating, ( yugo p's stuff is just sublime ) though I did give up lingo on director and have not given action scripting the respect it's due.

But lately CSS has become bed time reading. How very sad, sad indeed. To me this all makes sense.. a line from the Matrix where Keanu's character asks Cypher (Joe Pantoliano) what he sees on the screen. "Oh I just look at it code.. there's a blonde.. there's a redhead"... Ok I'm paraphrasing, but the point... all this digital stuff, FCP, Photoshop, Pods.. there all ones and zeros.

If you get photoshop then as one good friend, Rob Chiu - the ronin would put it After Effects is photoshop on steroids. There for the taking.. no not the drugs!

So where am I heading with all this..? Oh the beauty of code and elegance in design when you lift the bonnet of a site and you see how beautiful it's put together. I'm currently in the process of redesigning viewmag - where will I find the time?

But also that if this stuff scares you, yes it scares me in a healthy way, then it must not be lost on you that we are in the midst of another paradigm evolution - forced on by the onslaught of the new digiratis.

Arguably main stream remains relevant and perhaps will do so for many years to come. In part its is their collective ability to improvise, embrace the new and play catch up that are determining factors, but they're having to share the table now with, well people who just shouldn't be there. Make no mistake that hurts. That a different breed of media makers - the pirates of the play ground - are gnawing away at what was once sacrosanct when less than a a decade ago you could count the number of double firsts only allowed into the alter of television.

The BBC made bi-media a term of universal acceptance de rigeur, whether employees thought it successful or not, during the mid 90s. If you could do radio and TV, a halo beamed from your arse. Was it and is it so difficult? Then tri media - do TV, radio and the the Internet. Now that's a prized commodity of an employee if you found one.

Now that universities are opening up to this new new thing a generation ahead will with a disdainful disregard pulp this digi-media. " I think once the universities take hold and collapse the artificial boundaries in the media, I guess video journalism will take off big time". Words of Scott Rensberger, whom if you have never heard of before please google. I have the most remarkable interview with Scott about what he does as a one man band.

Coming soon the UK's print media accrediting governing body for universities, the NCTJ, will require all journalists on a print patherway ( a redundant term) learn video.

In years to come we'll wonder what the fuss was about. Not that we couldn't be a jack of all trades and master of all. That rule was long broken when mothers tackled the house and worked. But that the mental divisions of labour held out so long; a faustian pack between accountants wanting to spend big budgets and managers accepting those budgetary plans to sustain next year's figures, plus the indexing to inflation.

Oh but for the joy of economic code there goes.

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