"In 2005, visitors packed into the expansive boulevard leading up to St. Peter's Square as Pope John Paul II's body was carried into the crowd for public viewing in the days following his death. Taken nearly two years before the iPhone debuted, the photo is striking now for its appearance straight out of another era.
For anyone who has ever been to a concert, the photo at bottom, taken Tuesday night as Pope Francis made his inaugural appearance on the Vatican balcony, seems almost ordinary. The two, taken together, reflect a world changing, even as some ancient traditions stay the same."
(Carlo Dellaverson, 13 March 2013, NBC News)
Fig.1 Luca Bruno / AP, The faithful gather in 2005 near St. Peter's to witness Pope John Paul II's body being carried into the Basilica for public viewing.
Fig.2 Michael Sohn / AP, St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, on March 13, 2013.
"This newscast from KRON in San Francisco in 1981 has been making the rounds recently. It's labeled 'primitive Internet report,' but what it presents is actually one example of the many pre–Internet efforts that the newspaper industry made to try to plan for an online future – and stake out its own turf in that forthcoming world. ...
In the video, you can hear [Dave] Cole say, of the 'Electronic Examiner' he was demonstrating, 'We're not in it to make money.' At the end, the announcer points out that an entire edition of the paper takes two hours to download, at a $5/hour cost – making this 'telepaper' little competition for the paper edition. 'For the moment at least,' the reporter declares, over the image of a sidewalk news vendor hawking the afternoon edition, 'this fellow isn't worried about being out of a job.'
Though the piece does say that 'Engineers now predict the day will come when we get all our newspapers and magazines by home computer,' its underlying message is – Don't worry. This crazy computer stuff isn't going to change anything much for now. And indeed it took 10 years for any sort of online service to become even remotely popular. Almost 30 years later, newspapers are still in business; some are even still sold by guys on sidewalks. It has taken this long for the technology to transform the newspaper biz in a big way. ...
But even as the downloads sped up and the connect–time costs dropped, the industry held onto that approach, instead of coming to grips with the fundamentally different dynamics of a new communications medium. What had made sense in the early days over time became a crippling set of blinders. The spirit of experimentation that the Examiner set out with in 1981 dried up, replaced by an industry–wide allergy to fundamental change.
'Let's use the new technology,' editors and executives would say, 'but let's not let the technology change our profession or our industry.' They largely succeeded in resisting change. Now it's catching up with them."
(Scott Rosenberg, 29 January 2009)
"Sven Birkerts, a modern–day Luddite, is feeling uneasy about all this rapid cultural change. He longs for the slow elegance of print culture. So much so, in fact, that the cover of his new book, [The Gutenberg Elegies: The Fate of Reading in an Electronic Age], features a fuzzy caramel–colored snapshot of a naturally–lit library which houses the endangered species of digital modernity: a leather armchair draped with an afghan, droopy lace curtains, and shelves of softened leather hard–backs coveting thick yellowed pages and the tidy, immutable thoughts of yesterday's literary prophets.
Birkerts is terrified that his warm dusty paradise is being ransacked, and the remaining rubble is merely forgotten or misunderstood in a world distracted by garish, pulsing iconography."
(Amanda Griscom, 1996)
Amanda Scott Griscom (1996). "Trends of Anarchy and Hierarchy: Comparing the Cultural Repercussions of Print and Digital Media", Brown University.
"If the story of the Three Little Pigs broke today, how would a modern newspaper cover it? That's the concept behind a new TV ad for The Guardian, the newspaper's first major TV spot for 25 years.
The spot launches a campaign to promote the paper's 'open journalism' approach–its name for the way in which it is attempting to involve its readership in not just commenting on stories, but contributing to and even determining its news agenda. 'Open is our operating system, a way of doing things that is based on a belief in the open exchange of information, ideas and opinions and its power to bring about change,' said Alan Rusbridger, editor–in–chief of Guardian and MediaGuardian publisher Guardian News & Media. 'The campaign is designed to bring that philosophy to life for new and existing readers.'
The launch ad examines the way in which the tale of the Three Little Pigs might be covered by The Guardian today, with all the different forms of content and different channels that implies. It also seeks to get over the way in which stories develop over time as new facts come to light and the effect of social media on switching the focus of coverage and debate.
An epic two–minute version (shown above) debuted on Channel 4 last night.
Comparisons will inevitably be made with 1986's classic Points of View by BMP (indeed the Guardian itself has said that the new ad is a 'nod' to the old one. They share an endline: The Whole Picture).
But while Points of View got over its message succintly and elegantly, Three Little Pigs is less focussed, less pithy. This can be seen as a reflection of the changing nature of media–newspapers are now less about relating THE story and more about acting as a platform for multiple strands around a topic to be explored by multiple participants, including the readers themselves, in real time. But it makes for a less memorable piece of advertising storytelling.
'The aim is to reach progressive audiences and show them why they should spend time with us,' according to Andrew Miller, chief executive of the Guardian's parent company Guardian Media Group. But you have to wonder whether such progressive types would not be aware of what the Guardian is doing anyway? The ad will probably make existing Guardian readers feel better about themselves, but will its slightly daunting complexity attract many new ones?"
(Patrick Burgoyne, 1 March 2012, Creative Review)
"A short documentary film about letterpress and one of the few remaining movable–type printing workshops in the UK, situated at Plymouth University, featuring Paul Collier."
Fig.1 A film by Danny Cooke dannycooke.co.uk, soundtrack by Tony Higgins tonyhiggins.org.