Stage 2
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English
Live Translation
Talk
Everyone
Goodbye News, Hello Drama: Post-News Journalism and Democracy

Short thesis

The core crisis of journalism is not about business models, quality, ethics, or trust. It is that news, the heart of journalism, is dying. It is losing its cultural relevance after almost two centuries — and thereby its commodity value.

Description

News was a cultural invention, according to media scholar James W. Carey, that emerged at a specific time and space for particular needs. It was at the dawn of globalization when telegraph technology began to fundamentally change the way news was gathered and produced. The small but quickly expanding population of literate citizens started to situate itself in a very different world from fiction.

Now after the invention of global satellite televisions, affordable international air travel, and of course the internet and social media, news has lost its monopoly on the sense of globality it once generated.

Meanwhile, in reaction to speedy and at times excessive and careless global movement of capital, goods, and work, more and more disillusioned people come to walk the opposite direction — from the global toward the local. Look at the rise of artisan shops, local markets, and craft movement, as well as the growing national, religious, and racial prejudices.

News used to be the main source of daily drama for the expanding literate class. It was what many people used as ice-breaker to communicate with their partners, colleagues and friends. But gradually with the invention of cinema, television, video games, YouTube, Twitter, and Netflix there are many other things than news to discuss at the breakfast table — if there is still such a thing.

The truth is that the news is dying, but journalism will not — and should not. If, as Carey once urged, journalism and democracy are synonymous with public conversation, the crisis of journalism can only be a reflection of the crisis of democracy.

The challenge for journalism in the years to come is to reinvent itself around something other than news, whilst resisting the seduction of propaganda and entertainment. This post-news journalism, I argue, will revolve around drama. This means we should make various experiments inspired by older artistic forms such as literature, theatre, cinema, photography and even music and dance.

Speakers