Why Journalism is taught that way. Yeah?

It makes sense. Your next employer guided by frameworks, rules and conventions is influencing how you’re taught and come to understand this thing called journalism. You need a job. Money. But first the little hurdle of going to Journalism school.

Firstly caution, as Andrew Marr sets out in his book My Trade, there are a myriad divisions of journalism, not all of them involved in relaying news. However, a paradigm which wall gardens how we produce news (broadcast) journalism is so powerful that anything attempted to the contrary is dismissed.

In 1992 when the BBC first mooted the idea that its journalist would have to be bi-media, that is possess skills in radio and television industry representatives were up in arms. It would diminish quality and erode the job of specialists. By 2000 multi-media would follow. Now this new wily cat really was amongst the birds.

Multimedia, a re-introduction of cinema’s ideals, cinema proclaimed itself a multimedia platforms in the 1900s courtesy of the Italian Futurism movement, would look for distinct skills to pass on to a next generation.

Again the industry nobbled incumbents. Multimedia was hived into a division of labour. The university modular system birthed in the 1970s to take account of a new commercialisation in education capitalised.

Today, mobile journalism, drone journalism, data journalism and the rest exist as entities, rather than parts of the spokes for a larger problem-solving ideal for practitioners.

In 2000, there was hope. A group of radicals on the web saw multimedia as an inversion. One piece of work that brought together different ‘distinct disciplines’ was seen, still is, as multimedia invariably created by Flash owned then by Macromedia leading the way.

Leading proponents such as Holo, Brendan Dawes, Yugo Nakumura and Eric Natzke from the Master of Flash series, and Hillman Curtis (R.I.P) opened new horizons. They collapsed different entities into one. Many of these names will mean nothing to multimedia journalism but coding and action scripting was the new alphabet. Video had been given new breadth emboldened by its mastication in After Effects.

But the industry’s journalism prevailed as a marauding juggernaut based less on problem-solving more of churning a formula captured eloquently in Nick Davies Flat Earth.

The art of storytelling, and telling the truth — journalism becomes enveloped in quasi-science rules e.g. objectivity, quarantined in air conditioned rooms. The art of storytelling in journalism invariably becomes constrained in a 2-minute package emasculated by set shots.

Where engineers might start by looking at the problem and seeking a solution and artists look to revolutionise our cognition of the world and how we come to understand it, a branch of human endeavour called news journalism continues to search for what it was, when that world in which it was conceived is no longer there.

And when that doesn’t work it cannibalises new equipment to help it slay old tropes. It, like its code-reading lens semiotics, refuses to see how the psychology of story form is impacted by culture, race and memory.

So we trundle on, a new generation grabs the baton and things stay the way they are; they way they should, they way the industry suggests they ought to but it need not be so. Oh No!

Written by

Top Writer & Creative Technologist, Int. Award Winner. Cinemajournalist. Cardiff Uni @jomec. PhD (Dublin). Visiting Prof UBC, Ex BBC/C4News. Apple profiled.

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