Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Renewing your approach to communications - critical writing and video

David gets ready to talk at his session on IM Videojournalism at SXSW 09

One of the achilles of traditional journalism was it avoided exegesis, which is a critical understanding of issues.  No, that was left to the artsy literature folk.

Perhaps it was right to do this; journalism and audiences have broadly been served well. The evidence has been in viewing figures and the existing use of the word "Mass media".

In the 1950s as TV News was being created, the experts baulked at anything being beyond 2 minutes. Goodness that's a whole 120 seconds.

That approach combined with the sign of the times contributed to the adoption of television's most powerful media and language theories - Myths.

Myths in lay person's language means fables e.g. superman flying, Nike running faster than lightening, and so on. But the myth in media form is about the illusion of reality TV reposits, as we come to acknowledge.

We love a good Myth. Men are better drivers than women, people less well off are less intelligent, and the hero always wears a white hat, are just some of them.

And television in its short hand syntax to tell you a story plays on myths, otherwise it wouldn't only bring you stories of people suffering in drought regions, when there might be many other stories in the region.

The Net and you were meant to veer away from those perennial myths, and to some extent we have. Twitter allows for many more stories to be traded, though the super myths still reign. In any case, just as a technology like Twitter emerges, the phenomenon of re-mediation kicks in.

Here, those traditional media relearn the new skill, adopt it and et voila use it for their old myths again. You can't win?  But oh, but you can, not all old media is able to, or wants to match the new. There might be institutional reasons, or cultural reasons

This is not about who's right, but that simply if say you're playing basketball, you're not allowed says the institution of Basketball to kick the ball, otherwise you're playing football.

On the net, coupled with what I would call the flattening of cultural norms. Some people playing basketball want to kick the ball. What Chinese teenagers want today on closer observation you could posit is no different from California youngsters seek. Yes there might be differences, but those desires have levelled far more than perceived in the 1960s.

Yesterday, in a lecture, we broke down the story form of myth into component , and how playing on old myths we could conjure up relational new ones. That's where we're inching towards, but need to do more. Because for all the technology and learning about new apps, it means nothing if it does not bring about susbstantive change.

And by change, not just the speed of transmission of information, but of enriching and supportive ones.

After all the biggest myth is that we've entered the world of social network, but until social issues of the kind that assist each other and humanity are prevalent, rather than those that pit "them and us", we've made little progress.

Fiftyyears on we still, when we have the chance, don't want to be critical.