From Videojournalism, Cinema Journalism to AI Applied Storytelling: Everything, everywhere - each of us is many.
There are multiple versions of you, living multiple lives. Each one of those defines you. Some are recognised, some not! They have to wait the turn. But sometimes you can’t wait.
A Kung-Fu, metaverse-jumping, laundry-owning mother sorting out her taxes and winning an Oscar appears to signal a change in viewing habits from the global arbiters of film excellence.
Oscar winner “Everything, everywhere all at once” has its mitochondria in ‘Inception’, ‘Scott Pilgrim vs. the World’, and Shaolin King Fu flicks of the 70s. But how on the metaverse earth does it impact factual storytelling and news?
News and factual videos passing as news-worthy is atrophying. By 2033 it’s highly unlikely what you’re seeing on your screens will be what you’re used to now.
Firstly, it’s the discrediting; the mask dropped last week from Fox News — Dominion case when it emerged Fox anchors and their boss Rupert Murdoch knowingly said one thing on air supporting the President whilst mocking and venemously slating him in private.
News is an entertainment set, a conduit to rile constituents to keep filling the slot machines for doubled-down alternative reality.
The much loved BBC and its impartiality debacle with its highest paid sports presenters Gary Lineker courted enough controversy for the news to damaging. In a decades time we might still be talking about that moment. Today, the BBC continues to look the other way with a Chairman who is a Tory donor and supporter.
Secondly, analyse carefully over a stretch of time style of news making and something subtle is happening. News is a social construct of its time. It looks, feels and behaves in accord with its era and whilst its storytelling form hasn’t changed much, its style is.
Based on global research I led across Europe and several countries like Russia, Syria and India this style leans towards, something the audience interprets as like cinema. This isn’t to deride news output as fictionalised, as the pioneer Robert Drew used Direct Cinema to bring meaning to audiences. This new approach using cinema frameworks, cinematography and essayistic voice expressions appears to build on Drew’s form which was shunted from news.
Research over six years and different practitioners, from solo video, mobile journalists to broadcast journalism teams reveals how several are using a form, at the lab and viewmagazine’s platform we refer to as cinema journalism.
The methodology for achieving this data has been replicated in different countries e.g. Russia, Norway etc and was recently part of a Facebook accelerator programme in India and keynote address shared with Danish Broadcaster TV2 — a summit of its staff. TV2 Editor-in-Chief Marie-Louise von Holstein called the talk “Exciting and Inspiring”.
The trend forward and super forecasting places video storytelling in a new state in which Cinema as an expression of shot, framing, voicing, sequencing, lighting etc are being purposely deployed to derive deeper sense-making. Thus there are ways of telling stories you can call immersive that doesn’t require a headset.
Thirdly, last summer whilst working/ consulting for Google on their innovation fund it provided me the most extraordinary evidence of innovation across Europe’s brightest companies and the future.
One that had caught my attention from my own previous work was the revelation of social connections between journalists and their subjects using AI, which could help understand motives between a journalist and their source. One we’re working on, involves ensuring fact-checking isn’t compromised.
These findings have led to developments in new disciplines such as Applied Storytelling which is an interdisciplinary methodology collapsing specialist subjects in storytelling into one system, amplified by the delivery of artefacts e.g. apps and AI.
In 2015 we launched the Dislab that I led at the university of Westminster, and subsequently the Story Lab at Cardiff University we’re leading the training of Applied Storytellers. These are cohorts we develop as multi-hyphenates delivering artefacts, based on applied sciences.
The history of interdisciplinary work dates back far beyond the renaissance with individuals being named polymaths. Divisions of labour however in the 20th century became the norm, as did specialisms. As early as 1990s, whilst general reporting encouraged cross thinking, cross discipline, such as bi-media, were shunned. It took the BBC until 2000 to recognise solo videojournalists. Anything beyond that has been a bridge too far for one person and hived off back into disciplines, though the BBC’s labs under Robert Mckenzie encouraged ‘thinking across the way’.
Over the years our approach and research has yield research several results about future media. From 2004 working with the BBC heading up a team of researchers we proposed how mobile video would become ubiquitous. This video captured the beginnings of the mobile revolution amongst broadcasters.
In 2007 featured on Apple’s site we forecast how broadband would enable people to self broadcast into public spaces, whilst launching the first programmes for UK print journalists to become videojournalists. One of my first keynotes in Norway examined programme making on the web, and how broadcasters could use it as a second screen.
And from 2015 onwards deploying an integrated approach in storytelling we examined how culture and inclusivity is integral to story form, which in tech VR applications could be used to confront unpredictable scenarios.
Podcasts’ popularity captured below principally at 2007 on iTunes to comparisons with radio and documentaries years back has shown up trends to be able to forecast the future.
From our soundscape-podcast design 180991 featuring unique archive there’s every likelihood that podcasts will enter more visual and meta (VR) platforms. The history of media tends to favour deeping engagement with media by inviting greater multi-sensory touch points. Also that branded podcasts will coalesce curatorialy around each other creating unique points for innovation and collaboration.
This year we’re on the cusp of launching a unique global project and I’m looking forward to sharing ideas with independent international group of journalists looking to blend Applied Storytelling with Journalism.
Perhaps the most striking innovations to emerge with the pace of tech stea, rolling ahead will be a social recognition: of all the identities you believe you are how they might all be recognised.