Monday, March 07, 2016

News through an ancient lens

Film and video
London, ON
February 2016
For more Thematic data, head here
The mechanics of journalism have always been tightly influenced by the evolution of technology. Newspapers have evolved from manual typewriters and ink-stained hot type to electronic workflows and vanishing printing presses. The typical radio studio of 2016 - now filled with flat-screens, social media and enough bandwidth to launch a space mission - is barely recognizable to anyone who came of age spinning vinyl and taking requests by phone. Likewise, television has evolved from film to video and now digital.

We'll leave the macro-economies of the Internet and its often frightening impact on the business of journalism for another day, but suffice to say the online/mobile/social wave of change will similarly leave the media space virtually unrecognizable within a few short years. Assuming it even survives in any recognizable form at all.

Which is why when I come across old data types like these - 40-year-old film and a 25-year-old video camera - I have to pause and wonder how they pulled it off with such seemingly ancient, ponderous and expensive technology. Today's video journalists shoot digitally, edit in the field on iPads and upload from wherever they can get the strongest signal. I can't even begin to imagine what it would have been like to shoot on film (sparingly, lest you bust the budget) and then have to build in enough time to drive back to the newsroom, get it developed, then edit it all together.

I realize the journalists of tomorrow will look at our tablets and smartphones with an identical sense of wonder. And assuming the industry survives in some form into the distant future, I hope every generation has the opportunity to look back and be thankful to have the opportunity to stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before. Because anything that advances the storytelling state-of-the-art deserves to be remembered fondly by those who tell the stories in the first place.


Kalei's Best Friend said...

U are so right... what a learning tool as well... btw our valley has a huge storage/editing building that is housing the great old movies.. Reels of classic films were melting into goo; David W ...

Pat Tillett said...

It's really kind of scary. The more technology advances, the more I worry about what happens if somebody accidentally kicks the plug out. Even now, if there is some kind of a broad and extended power outage, so many things we rely on will just grind to a stop.

My 12 year old granddaughter recently saw a typewriter and asked me what it was. That really caught my interest and I started showing her photos of things to see if she knew what they were. Landline phone? Nope! Record and record player? Nope! Phone booth? Nope!
Pager? Nope! There was more...