Optimism about Journalism

You hear them all the time, public sneers about the journalistic future; ‘Journalism is on its way out’, ‘journalism’s dead’ and ‘citizen journalism is where the future lies’. As a media and communications student, the same opinions echo through the voices of influencers around me, with comments like ‘oh you’re doing journalism subjects, why is that?’ and ‘media and communications hey? You’re not majoring in journalism are you?’ The truth is, I’m not. In fact, those influential voices the widely discussed declining statistics of mainstream media succeeded to turn me off even contemplating it as a major of study.

In an interview with David Carr from The New York Times discussing the future of journalism, he suggests that journalism ‘back in the day’ really wasn’t that great and that the changes that we are seeing due to technology today are all a part of a natural evolution (Boston University 2014). In the same interview, Andy Lack from Bloomberg media suggests that the changes that are occurring due to the rise of digital media should be expected, enjoyed, used and discovered instead of being feared. He even goes as far to say that we are in the ‘golden age of journalism’ due to these advances (Boston University 2014).

So is the future of journalism really looking as bleak as many assume? People are now consuming news their way. We can see by looking at the platform Twitter that keeping up with such behavioural preferences if often at the core of developing successful business plans. Twitter was designed for individuals to send out tweets in a one-way form. However, its users wanted more. They wanted to talk, they wanted to reply to other tweeters and they began using the @ handle to direct their conversation. Twitter incorporated this concept of two-way communication using the @ handle into the very core of its offering and, as a result, it is now one of the most successful social media sites on the planet.

Tom Rosenstiel, Director of the American Press Institute, in a recent TED Talk spoke of new media and user-generated content challenges when stating that ‘what disrupted us will now begin to save us’ (TEDx 2013). He suggests that the notion that people are turning away from the news is simply not true, even though statistics around the decline of traditional media suggest this. News is on demand, but the audiences are now simply online and consuming news very differently.

The journalism landscape is evolving, just as it has done in the past. If journalists can offer news to audiences how they want it, where they want it and when they want it, then success is undoubtedly warranted. People place value in reliable information and trustworthy sources. In the vast sea of information available, if audiences were offered news ‘their way’ from both a novice writer and a respected journalist, then it would be almost certainly assumed that they would choose the journalist. It’s all about keeping up and I believe that we are going to begin to see the most adaptive media corporations begin to prosper once again.

References:

Boston University 2014, NYT’s David Carr on the Future of Journalism, online video, 6 March, Boston University, viewed 17 March 2014, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPlazqH0TdA

TEDx Talks 2013, The Future of Journalism: Tom Rosenstiel at TEDxAtlanta, online video, 28 May, TEDx, viewed 17 March 2014, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RuBE_dP900Y

Graffiti as Aesthetic Journalism

Art comes in all shapes, sizes, colours, and forms. From film, to dance, print, architecture and paint, these all constitute unique forms of artistic and aesthetic expression in society. Many art forms are often created with the intent of reaching beyond sole aesthetic, and act in order to communicate a viewpoint by investigating social, cultural and political circumstances.  This is what Alfredo Cramerotti (2009) refers to as ‘aesthetic journalism’, the intertwining between journalism and art forms. Just as journalism uses mainstream media to present audiences with global issues, artists can do so too by demonstrating their artistic expression in the public arena.

Street art, or graffiti, can be a recognised form of art, and there is one artist well known for creating infamous guerilla street art in urban landscapes around the globe. He goes by the name of ‘Banksy’, yet his true identity is unknown. It remains withheld, likely due to the fact that the nature of his artwork constitutes vandalism, a criminal offence in most countries.

With cans of spray paint as his weapon of choice, he creates highly visible art on buildings in global cities and does so as a form of social commentary. Banksy’s works are instantly recognisable and have the ability to refresh monotonous news issues. This illustrates aesthetic journalism at its finest.

A-new-Banksy-piece-near-t-001

The anonymous street artist prides his instalments on evoking thought in the eye of the beholder, ultimately leaving the audience to create their own interpretations (Northover 2010). This what Cramerotti (2011) acknowledges as aesthetic journalism’s powerful ability to ‘inform without informing’.

It is this powerful blending of art and journalism that not only results in an evolving media landscape, but also one that contributes to a society encouraged to think critically and engage in conversation about the political, social and cultural agendas that they are surrounded with.

References:

Cramerotti, A 2009, Aesthetic Journalism: How to Inform Without Informing, Intellect Ltd, Bristol.

Northover, ‘Banksy’s First Australian Interview’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 29 May, viewed 10 April 2014.