We’re All Journalists. Now What?

John Outterbridge_No Time for Jivin

A woman said: “Do the thing that only you can do.”
“Do the thing that only you can do,” said the woman.
To a table full of writers, the woman said: “Do the thing that only you can do.”

It was dark out and near-dusk inside the upstairs room of Más Malo. Chairs and tables  shifted outward, occasionally admitting another journalist into the conversation. Under discussion, egos and interviewing skills; experts and opera. Somewhere between Margaritas and red velvet cake, a woman, blond-haired and passionate about everything arts, said this: “Do the thing that only you can do.”

Do the thing. That only you, can do.

One of the journalists wrote it down — a reminder that talent is not the same for everyone.

We have spent decades learning and re-learning to do this “thing” that we do, imagining and re-imagining new ways to tell stories in our own way. Although our “telling” may travel diverging avenues, we often begin at the same point of origin: An idea. A need to know. A question:

  by engine29
Speaker: Celeste Headlee

We are nosy; curious; passionate; inquisitive. We are all storytellers — grown up daydreamers operating in reality. The reality is, the numbers do not cease the work of measuring how many of us are disappearing. Yes, we know our pages are shrinking. We have heard our listeners are tuning out and viewers are turning away. Where once we kept them rapt with the expertise of our craft, there are other voices now — many other voices now — that compete for their attention.

The world evolves. And so we must too.

 

THERE WAS NO THERE, THERE

See Jennifer. Jennifer has a camera. Jennifer’s camera is small. See Douglas. Douglas has a question. He does not write his questions down. Jennifer and Douglas are journalists.

Can you spell j-o-u-r-n-a-l-i-s-t?

They are nice.

Today, the nice journalists are visiting a nice man. His name is Mark Allen. Mark Allen has a company that helps people use ideas and technology. His company is called Machine Project. Today, the nice journalists will interview the nice man.

The man says that one thing leads to the next thing. He tells the journalists to think about every project as an experiment; as something new.

This is a good thing to remember,  for instance, when trying to fill a nice white page.
by engine29

by engine29
Speakers: Douglas MacCash, Alison MacAdam, Rick Holter, Edward, Lifson, Nekesa Mumbi Moody, Neda Ulaby, Kim Levin

“TRADITIONAL” JOURNALISTS IN A NON-TRADITIONAL WORLD

John T. Riddle Jr._GRADUAL TROOP WITHDRAWAL_1970

In 2007, attorney and constitutional law scholar, Scott Gant, wrote a 256-page book that is currently ranked 340,773rd on Amazon’s Best Sellers book list. Titled “We’re All Journalists Now: The Transformation of the Press and Reshaping of the Law in the Internet Age,” the front flap summarizes Gant’s work as such:

“[Gant] offers a persuasive and engaging argument for affording bloggers and anyone else who disseminates information and opinion in the United States the same rights and privileges that traditional journalists enjoy.”

The public seems to support Gant’s notion, with growing numbers of citizen journalists, pundits and bloggers, keen to join in on the discussion.

This changes things. The landscape of journalism, for example. And how we, the “privileged,” are now sharing column inches and airwaves with any and all who wish to exercise freedom of the press.

by engine29

by engine29
Speakers: Kim Levin, Laszlo Molnar, Celeste Headlee, Nekesa Mumbi Moody

 

TELLING STORIES

Elder man he is. Dark brown and capped with gray. Stately and colorful all the way.

She sits beside him at dinner. They have known each other once before, many years earlier, when she learned that he was an artist. A very good artist, too. His work is in a museum right now — The Hammer Museum. She has seen it and been moved by it and tells this to him.

She is a writer, so he tells her stories. Repeats the histories of his creation, of his work. He tells her of others like him who have been creating and working, but are still not known. She listens closely because she wants to retell these stories too. Stories about this man — John Outterbridge — and others like him who have been creating and working but are still not known.

by engine29 Speaker: Kim Levin

 

THE AUDIENCE

“As a traditional storyteller, my role was to create a kind of one-way street between me and my audience. . .It became clear that you had to begin to tell stories where the audience was and where they were going” – Tim Kring, creator of television drama, “Heroes”

by engine29 Speakers: Celeste Headlee, Kim Levin, Laszlo Molnar

 

THE JOURNALIST AS ARTIST

Performance. Audience. Witness. Period. Comma. Space.

We are known by our body of work.

We know ourselves by the work we embody.

Words curated, one on top, beside, underneath — the other.
The things we leave behind, the stories we tell: shaken loose in daily conversations.

by engine29

by engine29 Speakers: Laszlo Molnar, Kim Levin

 

THE THINGS WE LEARN — AND SHARE — ALONG THE WAY

Notes from “Liquid Content” discussion by Doug McLennan
Engine29 Day One – Saturday, November 5, 2011

-Journalism as a living thing: it creates more value as you go along.
-people get their news based on who they trust — the community of people who surround you; you get your identity from what you choose to share
-sharing as a primary way of being a creative person
-what are the best multi-media training tools?

Endpoint:
-how can you tell a story in a different way?
-how can you think about a story in a different way

*read: “The Perfect Pitch” on Engine28 site, and “10 Things I learned from Engine28” on 2AMt blog
*learn more: Artsjournal.com (Doug’s site)

by engine29
Speakers: Joshua Brown, Neda Ulaby, Nekesa Mumbi Moody

 

TALENT

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Speakers: Kim Levin, Celeste Headlee

 

THE FUTURE Samella Lewis_MIGRANTS_1968

A woman said: “Do the thing that only you can do.”

“Do the thing that only you can do,” said the woman.

To a table full of writers, the woman said: “Do the thing that only you can do.”

The Future 1-2 by engine29 by engine29
Speaker: Celeste Headlee

 

 

Images: Joh Outterbridge, No Time for Jivin’, from the Containment Series; John T. Riddle, Jr., Gradual Troop Withdrawal, 1970; Samella Lewis, Migrants, 1968. All images from “Now Dig This! Art and Black Los Angeles 1960-1980.” Images courtesy of the Hammer Museum.

olufunke moses

Olufunke Abiola Moses is a writer, poet and public speaker. Originally from Durham, N.C. by way of Lagos, Nigeria, she has worked and performed nationally and internationally. She covers music, visual arts and contemporary culture for Creative Loafing Charlotte and has written for Deutsche Presse-Agentur, the Independent Weekly and The Source. An invited panelist and keynote speaker for institutions and organizations within the healthcare community, Moses has presented on topics from patient care to genetic diversity. Currently, she is at work on a short story collection about her experiences growing up in hospital systems.

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