I was glued to the window during the flight to Detroit from Seattle. Looking down at the view, I admired the massive land below me, and the equally impressive rivers that ran through it. From the sky, cities look tiny, compared to our every day view of them from the ground.
Below me, things were taking place as usual: people were going to work, kids were in school, cars were in motion, deals were being made, and conversations were taking place. On the ground, what was happening in the next town over would have seemed so far away and their news probably unrelated to where I am.
But from the sky, where the mountains and endless square patches of land make cities—and the people in them—seem insignificant, I’d tell you a different story.
Because when we are able to see things from a wide lens, we’re able to take a mental step back, soak in what we’ve learned, take a breath, and analyze.
In traditional media, we’d relay what we’ve learned through print or TV, and use images to reinforce our profound words. The images would be of what we saw in with our own eyes, but not what we internalized in our minds.
Today, for the most part, we still consume news like it’s 1899, says Ben Huh, CEO & founder of Cheezburger Network. I couldn’t agree wit him more.
Consuming news today is like going through travel photos with a friend who just got back in town. It’s informative and inspiring at times, but then we forget, move on, and put behind us all those promises we made to ourselves about seeing it for ourselves or getting involved with something elsewhere.
So I’m off to AAJA Convention, where the theme is “time to engage,” with an emphasis on technology. There, I hope to meet fellow journalists that are also like-minded innovators, and have just as many wacky stories and visions in their brain that they can’t wait to share with the rest of the world.
But until we figure out how to use technology to the fullest, our stories will be stuck in our heads, making sense only to us.
Developing technology will allow us to tell stories in different ways, in terms of presentation, but it’ll be up to us to capture the potential of these tools and use them to make an impact on journalism.
Truth is, we already have the technologies to tell great stories, but we’ve failed in using them correctly and creatively. Today, we use these technologies to tell the same stories we’ve been telling all along, but now just with more sound and imagery.
It’s not going to be the buttons we push or the code we develop that saves journalism, it’s going to be the creativity and quality journalists behind the stories.
The advantage of technology for next generation journalists is that it allows us to tell stories from a different perspective. Not every journalist is going to be able to do this. And as the industry changes, and the creative leaders emerge, the definition of a journalist will change as well.
I’m Caroline, a storyteller, a dreamer, an activist, an advertiser, and a creator. If I weren’t all these things, I wouldn’t be a next-generation journalist.
Photo 1 is the view from my window while on the plane. Amazing! Photo 2 is something we’ve seen before, abstract art, which is a different perspective on things we experience in normal daily life.
Follow me on Twitter @ earthwalkers.
- Caroline Li