What’s “Media?” Time to Update Default Assumptions

Yesterday it occurred to me — as I heard about yet another “multimedia workshop” for journalists — how dated and useless the term “multimedia” has become. It’s now normal for media content types to be mixed. It’s also normal for anyone working in media to be expected to create and integrate various types of content (text, audio, photos, video, mapping/locative) as well as delivery channels (print, Web, radio, TV, podcast, social media, e-mail, SMS, embeddable, mobile applications, widgets, e-readers, etc.).

Ditto for the terms “new media” and even “online media”, which imply that channels other than print and broadcast are somehow separate or niche.

The best take on why it’s important to update and integrate assumptions about the nature of media (and how that affects news) is shown in this hilarious skit from Landline.TV:

Here’s where media is at today: In the current integrated media ecosystem, every print and broadcast organization has an Internet and mobile presence — and most of these now go beyond bare “shovelware”. Also, more and more of these organizations are distributing their content online first, making print and broadcast secondary channels (if not secondary markets). In contrast, most media outlets and public discussion venues that began life on the Internet do not have a print or broadcast presence. These vastly outnumber print and broadcast media outlets.

Consequently, when you consider the number and diversity of media outlets, print and broadcast media have become the exception — not the rule…

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Bjørn Melhus: “Deadly Storms” video art nails sensational, content-free news

This weekend at the Denver Art Museum I had the opportunity to enjoy some whimsical video works by the German artist Bjørn Melhus. One installation, Deadly Storms, is a wry riff on the breathless, content-free style of breaking news so common on television.

Deadly Storms, video installation by Bjorn Melhus

Deadly Storms, video installation by Bjorn Melhus. CLICK ON IMAGE to view video clip via Rocky Mountain News


Given that Denver isn’t exactly known as a fine-art Mecca, it’s refreshing that the Denver Art Museum regularly provides an excellent selection of work — especially modern art. Plus, the new Frederic C. Hamilton building (designed by Daniel Libeskind) is trippy and fun.