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New Media

Nick Archer



The definition of new media according to PC Mag is:
(1) The forms of communicating in the digital world, which includes electronic publishing on CD-ROM, DVD, digital television and, most significantly, the Internet. It implies the use of desktop and portable computers as well as wireless, hand held devices. Almost every company in the computer industry is involved with new media in some manner. Contrast with old media. See digital convergence.
(2) The concept that new methods of communicating in the digital world allow smaller groups of people to congregate online and share, sell and swap goods and information. It also allows more people to have a voice in their community and in the world in general.
This year I have endeavoured to present to the readers of Salient some of the most innovative websites I could find and explore the relationship between the new media and students. First off in Issue 1 of this year’s Salient I started with the obvious; Google, Wikipedia and an important resource for students Newztext which is free to all Victoria students. You have electronic access to a database of several New Zealand media resources (talk to SCS if you need more information about this).
Another new media innovation Barackobama.com was profiled in Issue two, at the time I said of it, “expect to see the National party rip off this website…” this didn’t take long as the testing ground of political trends has traditionally been student politics. Recently an A-Teamer after I chatted to him about the infamous www.a-team.org.nz said that Barackobama.com was highly influential. Indeed, expect to see Act and National boost their campaigns next year by having interactive and innovative (by New Zealand political standards) features on their websites that are remarkably similar to Barackobama.com.
Next in Issue 6 I investigated new media with a feature titled ‘The Rise of the New Media Machines’, where I talked to Victoria University Media Studies lecturer Dr Geoff Stahl, blogger David Farrar (www.kiwiblog.co.nz) and Massey School of Journalism lecturer James Hollings about key trends in new media.
Stahl noted that new media would eventually have in effect the word new dropped from it as he noted, “once this kind of media and technology works itself into the background, that’s when it becomes part of everyday life.”
Farrar, who has become a minor blogging celebrity in New Zealand in his own right by popping up on Radio New Zealand National’s Afternoons The Panel, TV One’s Agenda and the Good Morning shows, noted how blogging can affect the way businesses treat consumers. After Ticketek covertly made comments on a disgruntled customer’s blog, the blogging community blogged back. Farrar noted, “And what happened to Ticketek? Their reputation [after international bloggers ran with it also] went down the plunger in front of millions of people.”
I asked Hollings if someone could make a living as an amateur journalist getting scoops using new media platforms such as YouTube. He noted that to make a living as a freelance new media journalist would be difficult as, “whether you can succeed is going to depend on how consistently you can produce that kind of stuff [new media scoops].” This is because, “the news outlets are still going to want to give their work to people they know have been through training and are going to get the basics right.”
YouTube itself managed to push the media revolution further itself with the YouTube Debates as was reported in this column in Issue 16. As I had previously mentioned, trends in American politics influence things here. This has been happening for a while, as Chris Trotter noted in his recently released book No Left Turn; Albert Ernest Davy brought practical American campaigning techniques and helped make and break Gordon Coates’ Reform party in the 1920s and ‘30s. Nothing much has changed, expect to see TV One and TV3 to introduce new media concepts to political debates in the general election next year.
What are these new media concepts? Basically they are more interactivity between the media, politicians and the voters at home.
This has evolved through the years, firstly with newspapers when American newspaper barons William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer used what was coined yellow journalism to whip up anti Spanish and Cuban hysteria to help the US government’s cause during the Spanish-American War of 1898. Radio soon followed with Hitler, Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill kicking things off by presenting fireside chats and in some cases out and out propaganda broadcasts. New Zealand was quick to pick up on the trend with Michael Joseph Savage himself issuing his own intimate broadcasts to New Zealand radio listeners in the 1930s.
Film became a medium that also proved revolutionary for politicians, from Leni Riefenstahl’s infamous Nazi propaganda film Triumph of the Will. Savage himself can be heard, read and seen in the various forms of media declaring of Britain at the outbreak of WWII “Where she goes, we go…”
Television was also a revolution in terms of media, from Nixon forgoing makeup during the first 1960 Presidential debate against Kennedy and looking tired and haggard to viewers as a result, right through to Muldoon revealing it was all over when he responded to Lange’s charisma with “I love you too Mr Lange” in a televised debate during the 1984 snap election.
Finally the Internet has caught up, with the CNN/YouTube debates, with CNN and YouTube joining forces. This was partnership is revolutionary as it finally shows the media giving way to the public in the conduct of candidate debates. The first CNN/YouTube debate this year happened on July 23 when Democrat Party Presidential candidates answered questions from potential voters submitted via YouTube. The Republican candidates debate was originally scheduled for September 17 but was cancelled due to lack of interest by the candidates. But it has, however, been confirmed that there will be a CNN/YouTube Republican debate after all on November 28 when the primaries finally kick into gear. Expect TV One and TV3 to follow suit with video questions uploaded to their websites by us during their own debates during next year’s general election. Thus confirming that the New Zealand politics still follow America’s lead…
How the general election is covered should even be affected by new media. On Tuesday, November 7, 2006 CNN hosted the E-lection Night Blogger Party as the results of the 2006 mid term congressional elections came in. Top American bloggers were in residence at the Tryst Coffeehouse in Adams Morgan, Washington DC and got the party started. As a political geek I joined the party by blogging myself and by making comments on the party’s blogs. Expect to see David Farrar rubbing shoulders with the likes of Colin James, Chris Trotter and Nigel Roberts on election night.
Finally here at Salient we pushed the frontiers of new media and the relationship with students even further with SalientTV. This has successfully begun to bring you the news at Vic with video from around campus of all the big events. If you haven’t checked out SalientTV then go to http://www.salient.org.nz/columns/salienttv/, or go to the home page.
The vision for SalientTV was to increase the interactivity of media around the Vic campus, this is happening as the VBC (Victoria Broadcasting Club) are following in Salient’s footsteps as their own VBCTV is already in development. Their focus according to VBC’s Business and Production Director Douglas Tereu will be used “to keep people updated on the station developments as well as providing light relief through humorous videos.” It is the way of the future, and hopefully VBCTV will play the role of the campus version of MTV while SalientTV should become like CBS (but without the corporate bullshit) that is providing cutting edge current affairs journalism on campus.
This can’t happen overnight, but I think one key player that could build a relationship with both campus’ new media TV stations could be the Film Collective. This campus-based film club helped resurrect the Vic student film competition with the VASFAS (Vic Aquila Short Film Awards and was clearly to give film and theatre students practical experience. To become a good film maker you have to make films; this was demonstrated in the 1960s at UCLA, USC and NYU where the likes of Francis Ford Coppola, George Lucas and Martin Scorsese originated. Through actually getting their hands dirty with film they revolutionised the entertainment industry, first through movements like American Zoetrope and by overturning the studio system.
Wannabe film directors and television producers at Victoria University can no longer just sit around analysing art house films, they need to get practical like they do at the New Zealand Film and Television School and at Weltec. SalientTV has set a benchmark, it is my vision that the bar can be risen much higher in the next few years in regards to student media. New media is one of the tools that makes this possible, but it is not up to me but the students at Victoria University through institutions like Salient, the VBC and the Film Collective. Let’s hope that the second definition of new media by PC Mag becomes true at Victoria University. It was for these reasons there was a new media this year in Salient.
YouTube Video of the Week: Baby Laughing
We are laughing because it is the end of the Salient year, but you can’t help but laugh with this baby – just don’t drop a tab and have a bad trip watching this baby laugh, as it could be pretty creepy…