Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Future of the Media and Living Photographs

In a recent post on, Fred Ritchin discusses the future of the media and print in what is being called the probable "golden age for journalism."(in the post iChaos) Print media is dying, photojournalism is dying, and technology (the cause of death) marches forward, unphased, like death itself. But every creation needs some destruction to make room for its place.
Apple is working on a new computer tablet that would bridge the gap between an iphone and a laptop. With a bigger screen like that of a laptop, this tablet will be connected to internet at all times, like the iphone. News print media, having already started the exodus from print to the world wide web, could use this platform to take journalism to a whole new level. Like Kindle, the page would appear on screen for reading, but instead of consisting of photographs and links to videos, the video, the moving photograph, could actually exist right on the page. imagine a Harry Potter-esque newspaper, on your Apple tablet. Some organizations have already started exploring this possibility such as Outside Magazine:

What they seem to be suggesting, however, is an actual physical copy of the story and the magazine to hold in your hands, with flexible screens to replace the paper of print. Personally, i don't see the advantage or practicality of this platform. The screens are much more expensive than paper, and the staged video shoot much more expensive than a news photograph. They seem to be suggesting though (and through example of already implemented video advertisements shown in the video) that these staged shoots would replace the staged photoshoots magazines and advertisers use now; i suppose they are are the same level of production cost.
I do see living photographs overtaking still photography in the photojournalism to come, and it is very exciting! However, i only imagine this done through way of practicality and cost efficiency that would match the standards already in place. Photographers holding video cameras the same way they do cameras and personal lighting gear now, not big video shoot productions. And through a universal platform like that of a kindle or other tablet systems of the future to come, not through expensive, impractical screen-paper in development (though it is very interesting to see). I imagine these screen-page magazines would be universal and download different stories and magazines and display them in their own format. But the question i ask is, is the multi-screen-page platform more practical than a solid, single screen tablet, whose pages are turned by the click of a button or the swipe of a finger?

We are undoubtedly moving out of the age of news print and into the age of news-post. but in order to do this, the future must meld with the cost and production standards of today. and we must answer these questions and solve these puzzles soon in order to give journalism the digital footing it needs to stand against blogs and wikis.