Time for a little optimism

This week I watched two videos that explored the future of journalism and the speculation that currently surrounds the profession. One video presented an interview with New York Times, David Carr and Andrew R. Lack, the other with Tom Rosenstiel at TED X Atlanta both discussing the topic and providing different perspectives. 
What stood out for me was the optimistic approach both took when looking at the future of journalism and the digitalisation of society. Today we hear a lot of negatives about the impact technology has had on the younger generations, and how our face-to-face interactions are suffering as we become dependant on our technological devices.

What David Carr presents is another way of looking at it by reminding the viewer that every few years there is new concern and criticism of the latest technology. It was mentioned that “maybe we are walking into the best of all possible eras” for journalism, we just don’t know because we really have no idea what to expect. All we are currently doing is speculating and it would seem as though much of it is negative.

It got me thinking and I realised that society is known to fear the unknown and to approach it with caution, however how bad can it really become. Yes, journalism is changing and old media is exactly that, old, however new media is not killing it, it is simply evolving. David Carr acknowledges this and comments that it is a natural change and 

George Brock writes on The Conversation.com that “Journalism is forced to re-invent itself at regular intervals and always has been”. Tom Rosentiel said “the audience will determine the future of news” which means that the control is shifting and therefore it is hard to predict where journalism is heading but the unknown may be positive. I think instead of expecting the worst and worrying about where news journalism will be in 10 years we should embrace what we have and utilise it in positive ways. As David Car mentions “back in the day” wasn’t actually that great!



♦Brock, G, 2013, ‘Spike the gloom-journalism has a bright future’, The Conversation, http://theconversation.com/spike-the-gloom-journalism-has-a-bright-future-17907


My Comments:

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A Pen for a Paintbrush

This week I read an interesting piece called ‘What is Aesthetic Journalism?’, written by Alfredo Cramerotti. What struck me was his introduction to the roots of journalism and how people communicated as far back as the medieval era. He commented that “art was a tool for understanding”, especially hundreds of years ago.

It made me ask the question, ‘Is journalism a form of art?’. The answer may very well depend on individual opinion but never the less it definitely originated from this background. Cramerotti discussed how explorer’s and conquerers often took artists along with them on voyages so that they could depict an accurate image of what they saw to share with their people. “The descriptive function of art widened the idea of creativity as a source of reliable knowledge”.

Religious groups, explorers, scientists, geographers, historians all once used art to communicate what they had discovered, seen or believed . Journalism serves the same purpose today, informing people of news and world events, however we do not generally view journalism as an art form even though as Cramerotti highlights, its foundations are artistic in nature. The trade requires practice, education and talent, as any art form, but overtime the paintbrush has been replaced with a pen in the process journalism has lost it’s association with art.

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

The Journalism Divide: Professional Vs. Amateur

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Centuries ago news travelled by word of mouth and its meaning depended on who was informing and who was listening. Today news is everywhere and it can come in numerous different forms; websites, newspapers, television. However writing or reading with an unbiased perspective is hard and often impossible as our pre conceived notions of topics or events will always influence how we process certain information.

David Domingo, Thorsten Quandt, Ari Heinonen, Steve Paulussen, Jane B. Singer, and Marina Vujnovic discuss the concepts of professional and participatory journalism and how the divide is becoming blurred. In their article they state that contemporary critics have suggested that “news should be a conversation rather than a lecture”. This comment is interesting as it makes reference to how news originated before the media existed.

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Allowing audience participation in journalism, such as having comments on a news report allows several points of views to be expressed and could be said to give a report some balance. However it can also affect the professional industry and lead to further confusion over what is facts and what is simply opinion.

The U.S state department produced a podcast titled ‘Social Media and Citizen Journalists’, where it discussed the topic of professional versus amateur journalism. They comment that traditional journalists view citizen journalists as “self-interested, unskilled amateurs” and these so called amateurs view the professionals as “arrogant”. Focusing on the ‘blogosphere’ they bring to light a key issue that separates both fields of journalism which is perception and a distrust of the other.

By taking a look at both viewpoints it becomes clear that each argument has valid points. Participatory journalism brings back the concept of news as conversation but professional journalism is needed for accuracy and structure.

What viewpoint do you guys take?

♦Domingo, D, Quandt, T, Heinonen, A, Paulussen, S, J, B, Singer & Vujnovic, M, 2008, ‘Participatory Journalism Practices In The Media And Beyond,’ Journalism Practice, 2:3, 326-342.

♦U.S State Department, 2011, ‘Social Media and Citizen Journalists’, IIP Digital, last accessed 26/05/2014, http://iipdigital.usembassy.gov/st/english/audio/2011/04/20110408183323enilorac0.6075817.html#axzz32UYdwq9W

I’ll have journalism infused with pop culture please….

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Dan Berkowitz poses the question, regarding pop culture and journalism, “How do these two media forms infuse each other?”. While considering my answer I realised there may not be one yet.

New technology has been giving audiences and professionals interactive ways of getting information out there and as a result is reshaping both journalism and pop culture spheres. While they both expand and change individually they are also crossing over and in turn assisting the expansion of the other. Many years ago it would have been easy to define journalism as professionally published  writing, produced by a trained and experienced individual, but how accurate is this definition today?

 Blogs, forums, Facebook, Twitter, nowadays journalism can be as short as a 42 character post or a citizens photograph. If this is the case the previous description  of journalism is inadequate but redefining the age old industry proves difficult. There is a constant debate over what characteristics make writing journalism and it often comes down to a matter of opinion. What is evident though is the power audiences have gained in the journalism arena since transitioning from a passive to an active position . The London Bombings of 2005 was mostly documented by commuters who were on their way to work and news networks and newspapers relied on these first hand experiences for their professional reports. 

 We can see that pop culture is directly affecting journalism and the ways in which it is now perceived and accepted by the general public. Pop culture reflects the masses, and social networking allows people with similar interests to connect and  select what they want to see, read and listen to. It has in turn allowed journalism to expand due to the niche markets the internet allows us to access and has produced a new area of pop culture.

As they infuse each other in todays society would pop culture and journalism suffer without the other? 


♦Berkowitz, D, 2009, ‘Journalism in the broader cultural mediascape’, Journalism, 10:290, last accessed 25/03/14, http://jou.sagepub.com.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/content/10/3/290.full.pdf

♦Till, F, 205, ‘Citizen journalists’ move to centre stage after London bombings’, The National Business Review’, last accessed 25/03/14, http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/citizen-journalists-move-centre-stage-after-london-bombings