Saturday, October 22, 2011

Slowing down

Modern times are fast-paced times. But a media festival is not a race to run. Nor are media productions. The opening keynote is held by the former BBC journalist Angus Stickler (now Bureau of Investigative Journalism) pointing out that today's media lack both depth and quality. What the world needs is "slow media" instead of 24 hour "news processing", Stickler says: programmes that are better researched, better produced and presented with more care.

Sticklers example: Only by means of endless sifting through thousands and thousands of classified files published by Wikileaks in 2010, only by means of insistent investigation and thorough research, of classical, old-school journalism and a close collaboration of powerful media organisations the bulk of documents could be transformed into valueable media content - and, in the end, into the headlines the world still speaks about.

Today, we are overfed ad nauseam by an overabundance of content, literally one click away, the major part of it superficial, useless, unneeded, and unwanted. What the audience needs instead is quality, quality on all levels of research and production. Old-school "slow media", Stickler says, are not on the decline. They might well be the future of today's news industry.

"Hurtigruten" in the Haus des Rundfunks. (twb)
An impressive example for "slow media" comes from Norway. This year's summer NRK produced "Hurtigruten", a six day-and-night TV live documentary of a sea journey from Bergen to Kirkenes, Norway's northernmost harbor. To cut a long story short: The audience adored the broadcasts. (And so does the Prix Europa: "Hurtigruten" will be shown in the main hall of the Haus des Rundfunks. The full six days.)

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