Wednesday, February 13, 2008

One Man Band

One reporter, provided with the right technology and a little bit of focused time, can create media marvels once thought impossible without entire staffs dedicated to them. Reporters in growing numbers have become “one-man-bands,” as my University of San Francisco professor, David Silver, referred to them. Reporting, sound bites, video clips, photos/images, and text can all be derived from this single source to create works of media destined to be uploaded onto the web. This is one future of journalism. Another is the departure of news all together, save celebrity gossip magazines. Journalists must recognize that audiences today crave news and entertainment and simple print cannot suffice.

Really, it can’t. Print can no longer sustain itself; newspapers are dying. Circulation on a national scale has decreased. Diminished audiences have made commercial advertisers leery of buying ads, even in Sunday editions. Add in a failed system of local advertisement, due to such entities as Craigslist, and the downfall of traditional print becomes explicitly apparent. I’m no expert in business trends, but BNET is one and can describe this trend.

One way to provide both news and entertainment is through multi-media packages created by the “one-man-band.” Producers who think the convergence of mediums will create complex superfluities in which young audiences cannot follow are wrong. Play almost any game on a contemporary gaming system such as X-Box 360 or Playstation 3 and you will see my point: younger audiences have the capacity to absorb visual effects, sounds, and text at mindboggling speeds. Moreover, their attention spans for print have dwindled to almost nothing. My guess is that most 13 year olds can finish a video game before they can finish a book.

My generation lost the news to television sitcoms, MTV, online gaming, and an excess of many other distractions. But now we can win it back, at least for the next generation. How will we rope in these 13 year olds once they are 18 and graduating high-school? Through internet based mediums that illustrate the news with advanced audio and visual effects that may have to borderline on sensory overload. (Again, play X-box 360 or Playstation 3).

It is time for newspapers to stop playing it safe with their sub-par online versions and shift from 3rd up through 4th and 5th and into over-drive. The fast lane is becoming the only lane when it comes to news, so for those who are unwilling to keep up, please pull your Cady’s off the road and go play golf or something.

(For those who do not understand the impact of video games, refer to my 9/14/06 post titled Video Games.)

Image: thanks to Gizmodo


david silver said...

i agree, Jake, it's time newspapers - and others interested in storytelling - to shift into overdrive. nice post.

acokane said...

Its kinda sad that in order to keep up with the youngins' overstimulation, new forms of learning/teaching have to be created, and newspapers become obselete...whats next?

Jacob Marx said...

I don't know acokane, but I just heard something on the discovery chanel about recreating dinosaurs Jurassic Park style, but for real.. maybe we have gone too far. I hope we can get kids to learn about the Mesozoic era without recreating it.

laura_p said...

Nice analysis... Sometimes scary to think of what the future holds. When you mentioned those 13-year-olds, it made me think about how quickly things are changing. Our generation really got to experience a huge transition, but those even 5-10 years younger than us? Well, they grew up completely saturated in all this.

Fashionbible said...

This is a great post along with the pictures to accompany it, and yes I will blog about the mens fashion at USF. So, i will keep you updated on that. But, keep doing more post like this.