Written for 52′s blog by David K. Thanks so much for contributing David!!
David is a Portland writer/producer for a local news behemoth. He’s been writing, shooting and content creating for print, the web and TV since graduating from Portland State University in 1998. He also is an aging pseudo hipster veteran of Portland’s music scene, playing with the Hazmats, The Low Arts and Mr. Howl, among recent projects. He lives in North Portland.
Glancing at the newspaper boxes, stop signs and telephone poles on Portland neighborhood streets there’s always some new meme to catch my eye, usually a band or political sticker, but sometimes I just can’t tell and it becomes an inspiration for my day. ‘Stop driving’ ‘Your band sucks,’ among the most seen around but many times much more thought provoking.
Heading out of the coffee shop on a recent bright morning, the red-and-white accordion player and the words “The Vintage Media” wrapped around the palm-sized sticker on the yellow Oregonian box.
Now of course, that would be a cool band name. Maybe that was their sticker, I didn’t know , I hadn’t heard of them yet (turns out they’re a Portland band with such killer influences as Elliot Smith, Guided By Voices, but we’ll talk about music later.)
Point is – the picture painted in my mind reignited the ongoing and light speed changes we go through daily in the media world. It seems by the time we can think of the questions, the conversation is already outdated by a new technology or application.
Whether it’s writing, doing video, broadcasting, podcasting or Tweeting, most people are still anchored in “The Vintage Media.” It’s where everything came from, with many castoff models along the way.
There aren’t many word processor support groups anymore, and Dagguereotypes are hell to pose for. We’re digging through the new toy box, chucking the clunky and looking for the slickest ways and gizmos to tell our stories as we fly through the pipe. Yet don’t forget, at the end of the day that is what we do. An iPhone is not a replacement for a campfire tale. And while the tools can help make the story easier to access, flashier and more connected, they do not by themselves demand the story is any good.
One of my favorite pieces of advice to those entranced by the ease, accessibility and power of modern media tools in broad and narrow casting is “Just because you CAN doesn’t mean you SHOULD.”
Did you ever wonder why NBC was owned by General Electric? Well, they made some of the first radios, and they needed something to say in between the Ovaltine and Pall Mall ads.
That sometimes has led to the enemy of art – Mediocrity. Any jackass can write, shoot and publish anything they want. And as today’s instant America’s-Funniest-Videos model Youtube shows us, they do. And it settles to the lowest common denominator. I’d rather see something so horrible it’s good, than something mediocre. The opposite of great isn’t awful — it’s benign.
As the new takes over the vintage (Comcast-buys-NBC comes to mind) it’s shattering (or confirming) the ways many of us see our future in the media. Don’t even get me started on newspapers. Too many old schoolers still think a blog is a messenger and not a medium.
Stay with my ramblings – next time we’ll talk about how Oprah is The Man, using her mighty hammer to smash the future of networks and where the content is bound.