Speculations on Openings, Closings, and Thresholds in International Public Media
Sunday, March 28, 2010
The email from the departmental assistant in Broadcast and Cinema Studies popped into my inbox about three days after I arrived in Singapore in January. She requested that I pick either week 9,10, 11 or 12 of the semester for e-learning.
Still jet lagged by the 18 hour flight and narcotized by sleep everyday around 4 p.m., I wasn’t sure I completely understood what was meant by the compulsory, university wide e-learning scheme.
Give up a week of screenings and lectures for Blackboard e-learning? No way, I thought.
A heavily curated group screening that creates juxtapositions, contexts, debates, disturbances is a tradition inscribed in the DNA of cinephilia, film culture, film festivals and cinema studies. It’s the lifeblood of the field.
But I was game for anything.
I figured, I’m in Singapore, I’m at a major university known for engineering and technology, I teach new media, so why not let go of my East coast private college assumptions (and perhaps, brainwashing about face to face interactions with students) and learn something new.
Back at Ithaca College, embodied face to face teaching is priveleged. Blackboard is considered a supplemental teaching aid during the semester. Exclusive online teaching is sequestered in the “off season” interim and summer session courses.
While grabbing my daily dose of Yellow Label Lipton tea in the faculty common room, I learned from colleagues that the university was promoting the e-learning scheme for crisis preparedness in case of outbreaks requiring quarantine like SARS, H1N1 and other diseases that would wreak havoc on the small island.
Top Five Reasons to Do E-Learning for Film Studies
Eight weeks after that first email, I’ve changed my mind entirely about this NTU e-learning scheme.
So here are my top five reasons to dive into a week of e-learning and abandon face to face teaching for a week or so in critical studies courses:
1. MAKE THE COURSE, DON'T TAKE THE COURSE.
My initial reaction was to make an argument that a cinema studies class just would not work in an email learning environment.
But I remembered that my colleague Diane Gayeski, an expert in new technologies and learning, once coached me as I mounted a new on-line (summer session) course with the phrase STUDENTS MAKE THE COURSE THEY DON”T TAKE THE COURSE.
After weeks of lectures, discussions, and shaping of dialogue, e-learning week tosses the responsibility for intellectual engagement over to the students. Tag, you’re it!
2. LET STUDENTS GET LOST. ADAPT YOUR SYLLABUS
I am teaching a course here called Documentary, Technology and the Environment, which investigates the history of international documentary, critical theory, environmental justice issues and historiography. It also explores how new forms of digital interfaces extend and shift conceptions of documentary.
I had to change my syllabus for e-learning week, since I worried that doing the scheduled week on direct cinema and cinema verite, where I would show Primary, about the Kennedy-Humphrey 1960 Wisconsin primay and Iraq in Fragments required me to explain these historical movements grounded in US history and foreign policy in person.
So I switched and decided to do films from the war in Vietnam and contemporary works from Cambodia and Laos for e learning week, thinking that students might have an easier time with southeast Asian content. The students watch the DVDs, ranging from US government propaganda to Daniel Reeves Smothering Dreams to Emile De Antonio’s In the Year of the Pig to Rithy Pranh’s S 21 at the Asian Media Resource Center which is on the first floor of the School of Communication and Information here.
My students requested that I provide some websites with timelines about the history of the war. I found them. I also added the website for the incredible Documentation Center of Cambodia, which collects testimony from victims and survivors of the Khmer Rouge.
3. USE DISCUSSION BOARDS FOR WHITEBOARDING IDEAS—AND IMPROVING ANALYTICAL WRITING
Given that film/media/new media theory courses rely heavily on interactive discussion where conceptual models are applied to films through comparison and contrast, I worried about losing the verve of “whiteboarding,” an engineering term I picked up here at NTU, where new thinking is concretized on a white board with erasable markers. Every faculty office in our building has a whiteboard, which I love. And the entire front wall of the tutorial rooms are whiteboards, which I also love. Ideas seem fluid and alive.
The biggest problem both stateside and here at NTU in critical studies classes is that students have a hard time writing analytically, probing why and how, unpacking implications and meaning. Discussion boards are diagnostics: you can see how students’s ideas unfold, you can write privately and encourage more meta or more examples or less “is” verbs. Discussion boards can be reconceptualized as virtual whiteboarding. Gotta love those engineers…
4. HAVE FLEXIBILITY TO GO TO A CONFERENCE, DO RESEARCH, WRITE.
Faculty everywhere do more than teach: they have research, writing, and service work. Part of research is going to conferences—but that means missing class. At many places (including Ithaca College), attending a conference means getting an all ready overworked colleague to cover for you in exchange for a lunch or two.
What I have observed here at NTU is that many colleagues have slated their e-learning to roll out when they are overseas at important conferences or out of town doing fieldwork for their research projects. They can do regular visits to Blackboard, keep threads going in discussions, have their lectures online—and present their conference papers guilt free. They don't have to burden their colleagues as much as we do at IC.
E-learning schemes like the one here at NTU enable flexibility for faculty and a change of pace for students. The scheme is imbedded into the semester. It's not solely a supplementary pedagogical tool. It’s a win win.
5. COOPT SOCIAL MEDIA FOR INTELLECTUAL INQUIRY AND NOT JUST STATUS UPDATES ABOUT WHAT YOU ATE AND WHO YOU SAW
Students –in both Asia and the US--are immersed 24/7 in social media, so why not stop complaining about their wired brains and upgrade them from status updates to using discussion boards to explore ideas swirling around provocative, not easily-accessible films? I had to ask my students here to NOT have their laptops open during our screenings—they were on Facebook all the time.
Social media mobilizes user-generated content, engagement, pinging off someone else’s ideas, collaborating, crowdsourcing. Most uses of social media like You Tube, Facebook,and Twitter are vaudevillian or melodramatic or market driven or consumerist in content and approach. Corporations use social media to push out their brand. As faculty, we can toss out some of our old school pedagogies and learn some new technology and see how we might torque social media through Blackboard.
Why not model how to reverse these consumerist push out social media flows through e-learning? Pull in students to crowd-source rigor, deconstruction, analysis, abstract thinking, insights, perceptions. Maybe in the future their status updates in the more public realms of Facebook and Twitter might include some good online artists websites or hard to see documentaries from southeast Asia….or some analytical insights into international independent documentary.
The Moral of the Story: Get Lost
As faculty, let’s face it, we are all control freaks, pushing out concepts and fighting for space for ideas and films and digital art not out there in popular culture. Warriors for our own disciplines and ideas, we want to lead the way through concepts and control the framing of arguments through our lectures and by shaping discussions.
E-learning forces us to let go--and to let the students become befuddled, confused, stumped, stymied, lost.
The documentary film historican Erik Barnouw once shared with me a story from a Robert Flaherty Seminar in the early 1970s. French documentary filmmaker extraordinaire Chris Marker was asked by a young film student how he managed to be such a brilliant editor. Marker’s simple reply: “I get lost.”
Getting lost in complicated work can be powerful. You have to find your own way out. Getting lost on your own and with others in discussion of complex material is maybe the only way to learn how to think.
So maybe, on either side of the Pacific, we should all consider installing e-learning to liberate our teaching, to get ourselves to conferences guilt free, and to let our students make the courses we set up. And maybe we all--students and faculty alike-- should just let go--and get lost.
Saturday, March 13, 2010
Meet Bee Thiam Tan, Engineer and Archivist
“An archive is not a building,” contends Bee Thiam Tan, “ it is a memory institution.”
Tan is the innovative executive director of the Asian Film Archive (AFA) in Singapore. His background is unusual for a film programmer and an archivist: he trained as an engineer. “The engineer tries to solve problems” explains Tan.
The problem: how to create an enterprise based in social entrepreneurial principles that would last 100 years, according to Tan. Another problem: the vibrant, emerging southeast independent cinema has not found a home in any of the national archives in the region and has not reached a wider audience.
The solution: a business model for an archive that both collects and programs works. It follows in the tradition of the European cinemateques in the 1920s. The AFA’s business model evokes the current political economy of public media survival in underfunded and financially threatened nonprofit media arts institutions in the US. It can be summed up in one word that functions as both verb and noun: partner.
For storage of works and to increase access, the AFA partners with the National Archives of Singapore. To screen works, rather than building its own theater, it takes advantage of the plethora of theaters not filling up with audiences in Singapore. To find new audiences, it partners with secondary, polytechnics and universities with its Cineodeon program to encourage the development of more cinephiles, programmers and critics.
Asian Film Archive and its Films
Now celebrating its fifth anniversary, the archive was launched by Tan in 2005 to collect films from Singapore and independent, non-studio produced works not archived elsewhere in Southeast Asia.
The archive has collected 1,554 titles from Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines and elsewhere in the region. The collection includes works by internationally acclaimed Singaporean filmmakers Erik Khoo, Royston Tan and Tan Pin Pin, Malay classic films, and films from the Golden Era of Singapore cinema in the 1950s and 1960s.Remarkably, it has saved 60% of the films made in Singapore, deposited in the National Archive of Singapore, an AFA partner.
AFA houses key works from the Malaysian new wave, including films by controversial documentarian Amir Muhammed (The Last Communist, 2006). It also has collected banned underground cinema works from China.
The archive focuses on films not archived in the larger national archives, such as the Vietnam Film Archive, the largest in the region.
In the last ten years, accessible digital video has ignited southeast Asian independent work. A festival circuit has emerged in the region to nurture these new transnational and cosmopolitan southeast asian film movements.
However, although many of these films receive accolades at internationally prominent festivals like Oberhausen, Berlin, Hong Kong, Sundance, Rotterdam and Pusan, they survive almost exclusively at film festivals, excised from theatrical distribution and non-cinephile audiences.
Community Building through Outreach
To solve this problem, AFA not only aggressively collects these films, but develops imaginative outreach strategies to get the works out to new audiences. They screen at schools, polytechnics, universities and museums. They partner with other institutions to do programming. And they run a variety of workshops on cinema literacy, archiving, film and culture, the archive’s filmmakers, and filmmaking.
Referencing early cinema, the AFA ‘s Cineodeon project aims to build new audiences by training students to learn how to become programmers through a mentorship program. They appraise the collection, immerse themselves in watching films from the collection, and develop screenings where tickets cost one Singapore dollar (about 70 cents US).
The achievements of AFA as an independent arts organization need context. Pragmatic and business oriented, Singapore does not yet have as developed a nonprofit sector and noncommercial cultural and artistic milieu compared to other global cities like New York, Hong Kong, London and Dubai.
Social Entrepreneurship: Film History meets New Archival Models
Tan’s ideas about social entrepreneurship, imaging technologies and search engines drive his unique conception of the role and function of an archive. As an engineer, Tan trained in new imaging technologies, but also harbored a passion for cinema. In 2003-2004, he moved to the San Francisco Bay area to be part of a special program to train entrepreneurs. There, he became intrigued by the idea of social entrepreneurship, the idea of identifying a social problem and deploying entrepreneurial skills to create and manage solutions through synergies and partnerships.
Motivated to learn more about national film archives and their challenges, Tan benchmarked archival practices around the world by backpacking through the US, Europe, China, Hong Kong and visiting major national archives. His goal: to solve the problem of how to develop a nonprofit that could sustain itself and make cinema sustainable for future generations.
Two historical movements in the United States inspired Tan.
The first was Anthology Film Archives, created by experimental filmmaker Jonas Mekas. Tan admired that an independent media arts organization could be self-sustaining and attract ardent followers and fans.
The second was the vibrant civil society that defines the Bay area. AFA commingled the ideas of an independent media organization and civil society into an archive that not only collects films but convenes communities of discourse around those films. Rather than building a physical facility for archiving and screening, AFA partners with a variety of organizations in Singapore, such as the National Archives, universities and commercial theaters.
A Business Model for Sustainability
Tan’s business model evidences a new vision of a mixed economy for a nonprofit media organization: 30-40% of income is derived from long term projects, 30% by corporate sponsorship, and 20-30% from DVD sales of works in the collection.
Dedicated to making its collection accessible, AFA sells DVDs by Singaporean experimental filmmaker Rajendra Gour, Philippine director Lino Brocka, the Malaysian new wave filmmakers such as Tan Chiu Mui, Singaporeans Roystan Tan and Tan Pin Pin, Vietnamese director Dang Nhat Minh, and collections of shorts from Singapore.
“AFA continually asks what kind of value do we give to filmmakers, to people, to users of the archive, to audiences, to scholars,” explains Tan. It’s this kind of interrogation of interface with users that caught the attention of Singapore’s National Volunteers and Philanthropy Awards: in 2007, AFA was named the winner of its New NonProfit Initiative Award.
Tan’s motto is simple: “an archive collects films and good will.”
Sunday, March 7, 2010
Blog written by Patricia Zimmermann, Shaw Foundation Professor, Nanyang Technological University and codirector, Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival
A film movement is emerging in full force in Southeast Asia. And it is transnational, experimental, and jacks us into a new sense of time and place.
Last Friday on March 5, I popped over to the National University of Singapore(NUS, the other major university in Singapore) with my NTU (Nanyang Technological University) colleague Nikki Draper for a screening of five Asian short films from the Philippines, Korea, Malaysia, and Thailand.
With about 200 people in the audience, the screening was part of the NUS Arts Festival (NAF) 2010. The festival, which includes music, theater, dance, literature, and film, probes the cultures and debates of what it terms “global Asia.” The place buzzed with people.
Before the screening, we ambled around the opening exhibition of influential Singapore painter Cheong Soo Pieng (1917-1983) at the university museum, a few steps down from the theater.
Cheong’s work hybridizes early European modernism with Southeast Asian painting and compositional styles. Many of the paintings are vertical, referencing Chinese scrolls. But the style is expressionist, exploding in rich oranges, greens, and reds. The paintings claim a different sense of time to absorb their complex compositions, their stillness, their groundedness in everyday life of people, buildings and land in Southeast Asia. In many ways, the paintings provided a template for the screening to follow.
Long takes, tableau shots, complex sound designs, and details of everyday in interiors characterize this new film movement.
Cosponsored by the Asian Film Archive (AFA) to celebrate its fifth anniversary, the screening featured new works by Lav Diaz (Philippines), Hong Sang-soo (Korea)Tan Chui Mui (Malaysia), Christopher Chong Chan Fui (Canada/Malaysia), and Apitchatpong Weerasethakul (Thailand).
Curated smartly and aggressively by Bee Thiam Tan from AFA , the screening was demanding and rigorous. The films insist on a different temporality from commercial cinema with their long shots and long takes. They required concentration so the eye can learn to scan the frame and the spectator’s body could settle into a slower pace.
My colleague at NTU, Adam Knee, a specialist in Southeast Asian cinema, connected with us during the intermission. He pointed out that this Southeast Asian film movement is transnational and fluid, with filmmakers from different countries working on each other’s films, and some filmmakers working in Canada and elsewhere but linked back to the region.
Many of the filmmakers trained at art schools in Southeast Asia and the United States. They appear to be influenced by structuralist experimental filmmaking but torque it with a unique Southeast Asian mise-en-scene and atmosphere.
Here, narratives unfold in space rather than propel forward. As Nikki observed, this is a cinema that rejects the adrenalin-pumped, close-up infused classical Hollywood narrative style. It is a cinema where the frame always has characters together, interacting in space. The films operate in the liminal zone between narrative, documentary and experimental film.
Butterflies Have No Memories (Walang Alaala Ang Mga Paru-Paro, Lav Diaz, 2009) is a 45-minute narrative chronicling the fissures between economic difficulties in the Philippines and the return of a Filipino ex-pat living in Canada. It was commissioned as part of the Jeonju Digital Project in Korea, a major new initiative to stimulate independent filmmaking in Asia.
In Everyday Everyday (Tan Chui Mui, Malaysia, 2008), Sook Chen leaves her job and fantasizes about going to Peru. Long takes and careful compositions allow the interactions between the characters as they sleep and eat to function as the topography of a relationship.
The final two films in the program were formally challenging, conceptual standout works that seem to suggest that space and place trump time. A Letter for Uncle Boonmee (Apichatypopg Weerasethakul, Thailand, 2009) features a slow tracking shot through a home on stilts in northeastern Thailand, concentrating on photographs, bowls, wooden walls. In voice-over, we hear young soldiers recite a memorized letter to Boonmee.
Block B (Christopher Chong, Malaysia, 2008) is composed of one long shot of a multistory housing project, with the elevator shaft splitting the screen in half. People move around the balconies, women discuss cooking, and hang their laundry out. A sari falls to a lower floor. The film evokes Warhol, but instead twists us to learn small details of interaction between residents from a distance. The sound is proximic while the shots are distant. This conceptual strategy suggests that larger housing landscapes conceal microterritories of narratives . The film unfolds human-scaled actions that the large state-financed structures obscure.
Intrigued, I asked Adam what factors propelled this new independent cinema movement. "1997 (the year of the Asian financial crisis) did not precipitate a movement away from feature production but rather marked the start of a rise in local production in both features and experimental and short works, " he explained. "Not a movement away from features, but a new push to create a local alternative to Hollywood product in the wake of the financial crisis and IMF interventions."
The diffusion of lower cost digital video increased access to production and stimulated regional voices.
Most importantly, contends Adan, numerous film festivals showcasing shorts, experimental works and documentary have developed in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Philippines in the last decade, serving to nurture this filmmaking community through screenings, dialogues, and connections.
These films challenged me to consider how this Southeast Asian regional, transnational cinema movement unsettles our film study categories of genre, style, shorts, and the national. I want to see more.
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Blog written by Patricia R. Zimmermann, Shaw Foundation Professor, Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore and professor of cinema and codirector, Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival, Ithaca College
I’m sitting in the back row of the banquet room on the tenth floor of the upscale M Hotel in downtown Singapore.
I’m freezing—the air conditioning is so crisp and cold it’s almost an electro-shock after the 93 degree heat and humidity of walking through the business district in Tanjong Pagar.
I’m listening to speakers from Hong Kong, Singapore, France, Germany, the United States and Malaysia describe the changing topography of journalism in Asia.
Summary: the future of journalism is…business and marketing on 24/7 social media platforms.
This gathering is an intense two day working conference for news organizations and news professionals called The Future of Journalism and News Media, sponsored by the World Association of Newspaper and News Publishers (WAN IFRA), Nanyang Technological University and the Asian Journalism Fellowship.
Go to Where the People Are
“Media are no longer about a brand and people coming to you,” asserted Jeff Jarvis, director of the interactive journalism program at the City University of New York graduate school of journalism . “Now you have to go where the people are—media are more distributed than centralized.” On vacation in Florida, Jarvis was skyped into the conference.
Over 100 journalists from Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, Bhutan, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, France, Germany and the United States crowd the round tables. I talked to a lot of them at the cocktail party, which featured copious amounts of satay and sashimi. I really liked and admired the people I met.
The q and a sessions after each session feel more like press conferences where journalists drill into undeveloped points for clarification and exposure. It’s a long way from academics in the US who often start their questions with “let me make an intervention” or “I’d like to problematize your position a bit.”
I like their agility in cutting to the bone of ideas. A spirit of harmony and collegiality pervades this conference.
Malaysiakini, Passion and the Internet
Malaysiakini.com is a website that pushed the boundaries of press freedom in Malaysia, explained Premesh Chandran, one of its founders. The Malaysian government loosened press censorship on the internet in the late 1990s when it was pushing its multimedia corridor—Malaysiakini took advantage of this opening and launched in 1999.
With passion and commitment to breaking stories on government and business scandals, Malaysiakini focused on fast news underrepresented in the mainstream and offered diverse viewpoints.
Chandran contends that where you publish is irrelevant now. Brand name and credibility are Malaysiakini’s number one asset. By 2004, the website was profitable. By 2008, it was ranked #1 for news in Malaysia.
A lot of the questions volleyed here seem to pivot around how news organizations in Thailand or Indonesia can steer through the swift-moving rapids of multiplatformed social media. J
Journalists here wonder out loud how their jobs will change from doing stories to branding themselves as specialists across blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media.
Old Dead Tree Journalism and New Social Media Journalism
I’m jamming my notebook with percentages on everything from who reads newspapers (older people) to who uses Twitter (younger people), aphorisms about social media engagement strategies (twitter and blog and post 24/7) and exhortations to invent a new business model for journalism (make money by branding and sponsoring meet ups and trainings).
The old journalism (what some here call dead tree journalism) of a daily newspaper, loyal readers, and highly trained journalists with authority is extinct.
The new journalism (an endlessly swirling concoction of citizen journalism, blogs, Twitter, engagement strategies, branding, mobile interfaces and aggregation) is in Darwinian ascendance. But it doesn’t yet have a viable business model for what many speakers call “monetization.”
Some Facts and Observations on the New Landscape
Consider the following facts and arguments offered at this conference about the future of journalism:
* Journalism is not a product but a process, and journalists must adopt an “entrepreneurial spirit” to capitalize on low cost platforms, according to Jeff Jarvis
* The South China Morning Post, a major high prestige Asian newspaper, is now competing with blogs, contends Reginald Chua, editor in chief of the Hong Kong-based paper. Large organizations may, as a result, be handicapped in this new landscape.
* In Singapore, 1 out of 2 people trust blogs. Chew Ming, editor of the Singapore-based, user-generated site Stomp, pointed out that citizen journalism captures news as it is happening—a much different timeline than traditional journalism. But it’s better at who , what, when, and where, than why and how.
* Creation is aggregation—use people as our agents to spread our brand, claimed Robert Niles, editor of the Online Journalism Review.
* Listen, plan, engage, amplify, optimize, urged Thomas Crampton, a former New York Times and International Herald Tribune journalist now Asia Pacific director fo 360 Digital Influence, Ogilvy, Hong Kong. Journalism is a “three legged stool” of online, in person, and in print.
* People will pay for quality journalism, argued Premesh Chandran from Malaysiakini.com
* “Leisurization” is a growing market for online news. 91% of people in a recent survey think the internet is the most effective way to get leisure information. People want and need to escape, and these desires can be “monetized” online, according to Jerome Doncieux, co-CEO of AFP Relaxnews in France.
Where do nonprofit news/public affairs organizations fit in?
Walter Lim, who helped launch the imaginative, compelling and useful Singapore heritage project Yesterday.sg, and I are the only speakers from the nonprofit realm. His user-generated historical archive--which had several fans and users in this esteemed audience--is funded by the National Heritage Board of Singapore.
I guess I represented what we in the US call “public media,” that range of works that open up concerns and debates about civil society. I asked the audience to consider shifting from considering business models to the conceptual, philosophical and ethical models of this new social media landscape—all of which are unresolved and thorny issues despite the euphoria over twittering in Iran.
My colleague Cherian George, himself a former Singapore Straits Times journalist who is now a professor at NTU with a Ph.D., invited me to speak about an on-going research and theoretical project I am collaborating on with filmmaker , writer and non profit arts administrator Helen de Michiel called the Open Space Project, a theoretical model of collaborative, participatory relational practice that pulls in community rather than pushes out ideas.
I must admit, I wasn’t quite sure how this model for nonprofit social media mobilization might mesh with the rhetorics of business models, entrepreneurialism, branding, and pushing out ideas to capture eyeballs for advertizers.
I didn't want to alienate the audience, but to invite them into a slightly different conversation. Open Space media, in our model, is where technology meets people meets places.
Social Media in Asia and the US: Similiar and Different
In the end, I’m struck by how the pumped-up-pitch-man rhetoric, the engagement strategies, the euphoria about new media, the multiplatforming, the evangelism that the old forms are dead and the new forms need our embrace, and even the adoption of the “indie rock model” to commoditize ancillary products at live events, is almost identical to what I heard from the nonprofit social media pundits at the National Alliance of Media Arts and Culture Commonwealth Conference last August in Boston.
The only difference was that the nonprofit NAMAC crowd shuffled around the term sustainability, while the for-profit WAN IFRA group lobbed the term monetization. An uncritical optimism about social media coupled with horror-film like warnings about ignoring it pervaded both the WAN IFRA and NAMAC gatherings.
At NAMAC after hours, at the hotel bar, nonprofit administrators described how they spent most of their time chained to laptops sending out Tweets and being clever on Facebook updates and pumping out e-blasts and building dynamic websites. They shared they were exhausted by it all and missed the days of engaging audiences and ideas more directly.
At a WAN IFRA luncheon where I ate lamb laksa and fish curry, I listened to seasoned journalists from four different countries in southeast Asia worry that younger journalists never leave the newsroom or make phone calls—they google and surf the internet and then remix what they find. They have not done the “death knock”—where someone dies and you interview their family or friends.
The Future Needs Restructuring
Both conversations give me pause.
It seems like social media is actually not social—in the Habermasian sense—at all.
Perhaps it has created a cordon sanitaire around ideas and news that matter, trapping nonprofits, for-profits, and entrepreneurial freelancers from both sectors in a digital quarantine. As a result, the traumas, pain, messiness, and conflicts of the powerful and the powerless--defining features of journalism, public affairs, documentary, and nonprofit public media around the globe for at least two centuries--are cordoned off, outside, far away, unnecessary, neutralized.
So maybe the future of journalism and nonprofit media in Asia and the United States are the same: a tectonic restructuring of the relationships between producers, users, institutions, technological platforms, labor, and business models .
And maybe the future of journalism and nonprofit media everywhere should also include some vigorous discussion of the whys and hows of ethics.
And what it means to get away from your iPhone and into the streets again, interacting with, uh, that old platform which is always new, called real people.