Month: April 2014

David Carr and all things Future

A few weeks ago I wrote about how, despite some moral panics, journalism wasn’t in fact dead. It seems to be thriving in fact. So this week when we were asked to watch this video, I’m not gunna lie, I felt pretty validated. If you’re not keen on watching a whole 30 minutes of three white guys having a pow-wow, I’ll give you  quick little run down. During the half-hour David Carr, Andy Lack and Tom Fiedler discussed the current changes occurring in the media and journalism and how this affects journalism education. Obviously, I don’t want to write the same post twice, so instead of focussing how journalism is changing I want to look a bit closer at the teaching of journalism and media studies.

David Carr mentioned that the old model of employment in journalism has completely changed. Prior to the huge online industry boom (aka the Dark Ages), students would have to work their way up the newspaper chain. Now, there is so much more variety in job prospects, more platforms to get a story out and more potential to go viral. David Carr talks about how media production will be a big focus in journalism education so that graduates will have the tools to create their own content, because now more than ever journalists have the capacity to become successful while still working independently. He also talks about learning less about ‘the good old days’ but rather a focus on looking at the present and the near future. (Cue Kool and the Gang’s rendition of Celebration)

As a media student, this is music to my ears. If I have to hear about the invention of the printing press one more time… I swear…I will blog about it…

It’s amazing that we’re living in a time where such big changes are happening in the media which throws so many old models out the window. It creates more opportunity for innovation and creativity. And hopefully it means that some of us won’t have to go into the middle of nowhere for our first job (fingers crossed!)

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Aesthetic Journalism

Journalism and the public sphere come in many different shapes and sizes. The particular shape and size that I will be talking about this week is “aesthetic journalism”. Now, aesthetic journalism is not to be confused as art, although the two aren’t mutually exclusive. Cramerotti states that:

“The relationship between journalism and art is a difficult territory to chart. What I call aesthetic journalism involves artistic practices in the form of investigation of social, cultural or political circumstances. Its research outcomes take shape in the art context, rather than through media channels.”

Essentially, aesthetic journalism is just another way to explore and create discussion about current issues. It may be in the form of an art installation, a painting, fashion, dance, etc.

At the Drive-In
At the Drive-In

A youth theatre group based in Carlton, Sydney called Shopfront Theatre have, on several occasions, transformed local areas in order to create a discussion on relevant local and global issues. Huge installations and performances were held in public spaces such as At the Drive-In, which was first performed at Hazelhurst Gallery in Gymea in 2010 and then re-imagined by local residents in Broken Hill. For this project the young artists created a performance at a local and public gallery which started as a typical “drive-in movie” experience for the audience. However, things soon got interesting when the zombie/ alien movie became a reality. Performers and audience alike were shuffled into quarantine and immersed in a performance full of song, dance, art installations and about isolation and alienation. If you’re interested in seeing a slice of these performances you can click here to see them at Hazelhurst and Broken Hill. (If you look closely you may spot a familiar face.)

So how does this tie into a concept like aesthetic journalism? These performances weren’t just about zombies and aliens, although that doesn’t take away from the fact that zombies and aliens are pretty cool. These performances were created as a commentary on local and global issues of alienation due to differences such as race, social caste and gender. Afterward, the audience was encouraged to discuss what was said and what they thought, which allowed a public conversation  that may not have occurred independently.

See, journalism isn’t all news-roomy and boring. It’s exciting and innovative and is constantly creating new ways to converse and approach local, national and global issues.

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

Stop the Presses

There’s talk going around that journalism is dead. Well, print media that is. Nope, I’m not talking about the news you read on your iPad, I’m talking good-old-fashioned newspapers. It wouldn’t surprise me if YOU, savvy internet user, hadn’t heard of one before, but I assure you that your granddad would have some fond tales of paper as big as an elephant and ink made your fingers look like you’d just visited the police station.

Photo credit: http://www.sodahead.com/living/stop-the-presses-unemployment-rate-dropped-in-every-state-that-elected-a-gop-gov-in-2010/question-2783853/?link=ibaf&q=stop+the+presses
Photo credit: http://www.sodahead.com/living/stop-the-presses-unemployment-rate-dropped-in-every-state-that-elected-a-gop-gov-in-2010/question-2783853/?link=ibaf&q=stop+the+presses

Facetiousness aside, relatively recent changes in technology have truly enabled journalism to expand and adapt. No longer is the news a one-way conversation but rather a platform for a network of conversations. One could look at this as being the end of an era for print media especially looking at recent statistics. According to Pavlik:

In the United States, 151 daily newspapers closed in 2011” (2013)

Numbers like these can be scary, especially for young media students like myself looking into a career in journalism. Not only this but due to the emergence of citizen journalism, concerns of the future of professionally produced content in journalism have arose. I mean, let’s be honest here, can a bunch of tweeting idiots really create news content that is parallel in quality to that of a professional journalist? Well, according to Domingo et al.’s study, it doesn’t seem to matter. Although non-professionals (aka the citizens of Earth) provide information and conversation on news and current issues, it is still the professional who edit and present our news stories meaning that “journalistic culture has remained largely unchanged” (Domingo et al. 2008).

As for the business concerns to these major changes in journalism and how we can make careers and profit from them (because let’s be honest, a few dollars would be nice), I’m not too concerned. According to Reuters Digital News Report (2013, p13), there was an increase in people who were paying for digital news from 2012 to 2013. So things are looking up for us poor media students.

Journalism isn’t dead, or dying in fact. It seems that it is in fact thriving, and will continue to thrive. We may not get paper cuts from our news now but it’s still as professional as ever.

References

John V. Pavlik, 2013, “Innovation And The Future Of Journalism,” Digital Journalism, 1:2, 181-193

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,

Newman, N & Levy, A.L.D 2013, Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2013, Oxford University & Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, accessed 04/04/14 <https://reutersinstitute.politics.ox.ac.uk/fileadmin/documents/Publications/Working_Papers/Digital_News_Report_2013.pdf&gt;