Saturday, February 21, 2009

Get Rewired -Transform your journalist brain


Rewiring the brain and changing habits and attititudes to fit the postmodern journalist: the uber journalist, the multimedia journalists.
Zinedine Zidane, the retired French maestro of football says he misses the greens of the pitch. We miss him too. He had a great football brain.
The late Stanley Kubrick is recognised by Spielberg et al as creating the best ending to a movie in Paths of Glory. He possessed a marvelous film brain.
Some of the greatest journalists of our times: Vitali Vitaliev, Cronkite, Dimblebee had remarkable journalist brains. But what do we mean by that?
And what about now? Is there such a thing as a multimedia journalist brain? I suspect there are two different types of journalists in this web 2.0 era and I'm not talking radio verses TV.
Autoself On
I studied Applied Chemistry, which amounted to many years prior of studying the Sciences, but I was also interested in Art and the Arts. I took Art "O-level", and only gave up afterwards, because I needed to make a choice.
The episteme of the arts and science occupy polar schools of theory and knowledge. Art employs metaphor and image, while science utilises numbers and equations, says LeonardShlain in Art and Physics.
In student common rooms both set of students tend to dress differently, work differently and exhibit different demeanors. That, much I know from hanging about with Art students.
Then I went to journalist school. In journalism it was about the rigour. There was process. We might have been creative in the story construction at Channel 4 News, but the canvas was hemmed into the parameters of what we define as news.

Auto self Off - The Multimediaist
Multimedia embraces technologists, artistry and media. You'll debate around the houses about where and when it was first used, but I'm opting for a contemporary peg from the works of F.TMarinetti and the manifesto of he futurist cinema 1916 .
When Marinetti says
"We shall set in motion the words-in-freedom that smash the boundaries of literature as they march towards painting, music, noise-art and throw a marvelous bridge between the word and real object."
He might as well have been speaking about multimedia, though this statement is attributed to Cinema.
Technologist Vannevar Bush's 1945 essay "As we May Think" is a vastly painted ambitious world of tomorrow's unfolding multimedia.
Gibson (Neuromancer) puts multimedia as an ongoing discovery of how things ( mind and universe) fit together. It's not an invention, but a development. Then there's MIT's Media Lab.
In a research film I'm yet to put together the positions of different camps within multimedia come across are clearly.
ZDF, Mainz, (public service TV) which has fully embraced multimedia programme making.
In processing, reading taxes the left side of the brain, whilst images (TV and PC) the right.
So here's the big question. Could it just be that in spite of our attempts and successful ones in many cases, there is fundamental aspect of multimedia training, which does not start on a two week training course, but way before?
It embraces behaviour, psychology, attitude, creativity, work flow - an unfolding meme. The advance maths of my degree allows me to see multimedia as calculus (see image below). What's more it's arguable traditional journalism and its reliance on the word is at odds with a mash up pop culture of art and images.

The analogy of multimedia ( some journos just can't see it)
By way of an analogy, consider the difference between the digital native and digital ignorant journalist and I'm thankful to my good friend Barry Sandland from MSF for this thought-bubble.
The digitally ignorant journalists sees their work as a process of discovery and division of labour. Furthermore they can't and won't reconcile any notion of the validity of ablog/tweet/vj piece/ongoing thread, and that it adds value to new journalism, even when its subjective.
The digitally native, sees no distinction between the tools and process. Am I digitally native? I knew a world before the net, so don't fall neatly into the marketeers social bracket.
But I did know when I was diving 50 metres into the sea in 1999 in search of a forgotten war ship that it would merit multimedia packages: a radio piece for the world service, a video package, a Flash promo, a website and an article and diary, which I posted online. For me this whole process was merely the circulation of ones and zeros.
But back to the real (emotive word) digital native. Who are they?
They'll twit; pass you onto to their blog, which will subjective and describe behind the scenes; write the article which will be objective; make the video; build the pod; shoot of the promo, with SEO; and build the site; and then some (watch for the next app).
They'll do this because it's as normal as reading the papers. And each iteration will be different, adding context to background, to news - that you can use.
CNN says "Kill what you can eat". The Digital Native Multimediaist says "Eat anything there is to sustain you".
David sees a mathematical representation of multimedia via Integration.
And the future multiamediast won't be tied to traditional journalist outlays. There's a new world opening up, if we trend extrapolate, which traditional journalism will have to respond to or surely atrophy. But that's a different post altogether.
NB this week I'll be reporting from Miami's WeMedia. Also hopefully tomorrow, I should be in a position to sort out some archive I have just discovered for, which includes an extended interview with Louis Farrakhan, Ertha Kitt.

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