Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Super Content Providers, Penguin Books, Edelman - Public News

An evening with Penguin Books giving tips to a select group how to get published.

Of course it was rather private until as one of those invited I showed up with my camera and was given permission to film as pleased.

I showed this video to another publisher last week in a three hour presentation, about what constitutes what could be called public news.

Let's consider it a sort of meta public relations news, which like blogs position itself as being more transparent,  more like traditional news - though supposedly there are some things that you might not publish.

Then there's a wider question?  What value is there in studying news in a bid to enter to the TV News programming environment, when you could produce something far more pertinent for a non-video news making company - indeed you might even be on the cusp of inventing the next news system?

A couple of weeks ago I visited Edelman's plush offices in Victoria - one of the biggest PR companies in the world - to interview their chief content officer Richard Sambrook.

There it was; in glass panel coves and bespoke designed hubs, the chatter of several producers and public news personnel working to produce information for their clients.

There's public relations - a pre-90s ideology of cover your bits and pretend no ones looking as you pitch your sell. It's still practiced in crude form. Then there's public news whose schema is transparency. And the more transparent the news, the more believable it is.

Breaking away from the news cycle
Whilst a number of progressive companies have started to produce their own content, there's still a sense that the themes developed in the 60s by traditional news e.g. CEO's annual address etc still appear dominant.

The context for this is wrapped up in a wonderful moment in 1948 when the BBC decided those pesky cinema reels which showed in theatres and informed the public - well, there time was up. So the BBC decided to make its own news.

Except they had very little idea, so BBC Executives from the newly formed TV News department in 1952 paid the Cinema Newsreel guys a visit asking advice on producing this thing called news.

By the accounts of Richard Dawkin's Selfish gene, the BBC forced into competition produced something which gradually caught audiences' attention.

Of course it helped if you could watch this new news at your leisure at home

Today that evolution is slowly shaping up with the intimacy of the web, though there seems little appetite to construct a news of meaning or public news on an impressive scale - yet! There are obvious reasons, mostly every iteration of new news is a mimicking of old news values.

Just like Ridley Scott is thought to have conceived Blade Runners cityscape look by inverting LA's night skyline on its head, well.. there's a news approach.

In a couple of weeks time in the UK and Cairo I am working with some talented group on public news production.

It's a philosophy built around changing habits of news discourse and audiences in the same way just over 50 years ago, a fundamental tilt occurred.

The corollary to all this is a logic lies in being tooled up with social network with a fresh approach to video production. Penguin II videos on its way soon.