Speaker: Hossein Derakhshan, Researcher, ex MIT Medialab / Intervenant: Hossein Derakhshan, chercheur, ex MIT Medialab
In a black and white photograph, two white men are pictured reading newspapers on the metro. Much has changed since.
This is how Hossein Derakhshan started his talk at NPDJ, promising to give a different explanation of what is happening to journalism and news in particular.
« We are seeing a shift from Books-internet to TV-internet », Derakhshan said. Journalism is moving from links to likes, from non-linearity to linearity, from active to passive reading, from reason to emotion, from surprise to habits, from challenge to comfort.« When you’re on Instagram or Facebook you’re basically watching TV. »
Journalism is in crisis in terms of circulation, employment and revenue, and many debate the roots of this crisis. « Business models, quality or ethics? I say none of these. And that’s why my argument is different. » Derakhshan’s answer is that « news has lost its cultural relevance and commodity value. »
Derakhshan refers to James Carey’s essays on communication culture and argues that previously news was defined as drama, nowness and globalized experience. Today, Netflix and Twitter are much more satisfying sources of drama, mobile phones have made news instant and value has shifted from globality to locality.
The way forward, Derakhshan said, is « where affect meets facts and art meets journalism ». Long-form journalism, non-fiction, documentary film-making and graphic novels based on true stories are examples of success.
Still, there are many areas to explore. Derakhshan mused about mixing music and journalism with « albums commissioned by news organisations in which a musician would talk about current affairs ».
Who knows, we might see opera performances on Trump’s impeachment trials or the rise of Putin.