Television, let alone television news, is ill-equipped to deal with (nuanced) ideas that may be perceived by the viewer as dissonant. Casting for a broad audience broadcasters shamefully asked ‘Can they understand it in Wigan’ — not my words, but that of an octogenarian expert recounting a convo with his editor in the 1950s — when he was one of the first soundmen for ITN.
Equally interesting, what’s happening, as some of your interviewees alluded/mentioned is familiar throughout history. Unfortunately, we, whoever we is, have the human memory equivalent of goldfish. You could pick any period.
I’ll hit on Descarte, Locke, Hume, and Kant and their framing of human knowledge. Each was adamant of their findings ceding the other, yet today we treat these as palimpsests, unlike scientific knowledge whose findings are largely eliminative; we’ll discard the idea the earth is flat when we find new empirical evidence that says otherwise. Hence ideas live side by side (often in controlled conflict).
I was all set to cue up a point when your last speaker, Greenhall, also framed it. Piaget’s work with children, and then putting yourself in situations where your ‘consensus reality is destroyed’. Call it what you may, I’ll label it for this post as the journey man/woman’s odyssey, physically and psychologically.
The idea, and this is personal for me, that growing up being in care, being taken to an unfamiliar country to live where you unzip yourself to learn about others, being caught in complex scenarios that when you grow up you realise is not the norm for many, and then transitioning from STEMS into humanities and wanting to work in news, but realising structurally, historically it’s problematic. At the beginning of my career I relocated to Apartheid South Africa as a journalist — a place at the time that asked many questions.
Yes, you begin to question this media/world construct, and peep its mechanics.
In the 19th century a group of artists tired of the dominant forces that ruled them from the École des Beaux-Arts. Art’s form, shape and expression was seen as rigid and dictated. Those that did not fit the criteria of the Beaux’s preferences were shunned. Writer/ Poet Théophile Gautier would refer to this new emerging group as the impressionists.
The publicity and popularity of the association that would follow ( the cinema journalists of their day) would upend traditional notions of sense making and interpreting events. In many ways in video news, *some of us*, *many of us* (delete which one) see this as redrawing our approach to events.
We should shy away from titles and self-aggrandisement, but forgive my indulgence when speaking to a respected film critic/curator, writer and award winning filmmaker Mark Cousins said something that intrigued me, which I have found in many others deconstructing this thing called news.
p.s Channel 4 News was my parish between 1996–2000; still have friends there from way back.