How Greenpeace dumped a mountain of plastics on the UK’s Prime Minister’s residence, and it’s brilliant.

Still from Greenpeace commercial

It’s staggering, even mind boggling. That they got away with it. Your eyes don’t deceive you. It’s Downing street. But it’s a brilliant piece of animation that does for storytelling what normative journalism fails to do.

That soon will change. This is journalism. There’s evidence to support their findings. The authors are engaging their audience in a thought experiment. What if this happened in Downing Street? That immediacy elevates the emotional engagement with it, than starting off with dump sites — which viewers will largely have become inured to.

Some journalists might have even drawn comparisons with the amount of plastic dumped elsewhere in the UK e.g. the size of 100 football pitches, but TV journalism’s modus operandi will invariably pull the story back to the reporter and lose the emotional punctum. Seen this way it hits home.

An ascription to the conventions of journalism means television journalism will keep on doing what it does. At a TV streaming summit this week, I illustrated how television news’ form is being stress tested like no other time.

TV news viewership has been declining since 1994 . The threat now is the super streamers. AT&T’s warner media’s mooted merger with Disney will create a new structure and a need for new content. Others understanding Streaming isn’t just live TV will be drawn in soon.

My EU hosts already know this which is why they’ve set up a streaming service. Live TV with increasing engagement for viewers. Technology will bolster this even more. There’s limited eyeballing you can give to content, even more so to those that retain memory.

The criteria that news will have memorability appears absurd. Perhaps too if you’re considering the structures that 100s and 1000s of experts have posited around its form. This is news and that is news, and that isn’t news journalism.

But you the audience and platforms like Netflix give short shrift to that. You’ll go where the drama is. Am I saying academics are wrong then ? No, I happen to be one. But I have been in many situations where trend extrapolating yields thoughts that are innovative. Yet until they’re largely concretised do knowledge experts gather around the form.

In 1994 I was one of the first videojournalists in the UK who worked on the Net. Useless, the experts called it. Better than that, it’s still rarely documented about what happened in that era.

This newspaper cutting from 1963; you can imagine the howls of laughter from the board.

It would take another thirtiesh years for the phone to be mobile. Another ten plus on that before you see, what you’re seeing in 1963.

The last unused ground for Streamers is news journalism. But when they come to do it, just as they’ve revolutionised content elsewhere e.g. drama, they’ll do the same for news.

Some of us might refer to this as advocacy journalism. The label masks the very idea that normative journalism should be doing this.

The effectiveness of this story is one which future journalists will have to learn. Because the super saturation of the eye-ball market will lead to further erosion of people watching traditional news, to those seeking drama — even news drama. This is something the streaming platforms have learned and combined with the immediacy of feedback will further change our viewing habits.

It’ll be referred to as cinema journalism for a while.

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