Saturday was a bittersweet day. More than a hundred still photographers jammed into the Journalism building at SF State, all excited about learning how to create stories using still images and video as part of the SFBAPPA Digital Workshop. From my perspective they were brilliant visualizers on a steep learning curve with a long path ahead. They can already “see” – they need to learn how to move from seeing in space to seeing in time, as most videojournalists do.
Until recently, still news photography was all about space – how much space on the page is allocated for the photos. How much space on a website. The new paradigm is time – how long can a story be and still hold the viewer’s attention. How long will it take to show the photos/video. How long should each visual remain on the screen.
The questions were almost shoved at me during my workshops. How to begin creating a story. Which software program is best for editing. Everything from technical to aesthetic.
The bitter portion: few television news photographers in attendance. The two media (still and broadcasting) are on a collision course with the final implosion destined to be on the Internet. Newspapers are already claiming the future, with the old “electronic” media trailing behind.
As readers shift from hard copy and television screens to computer screens and the Internet, the media must find ways to keep up and hold their audiences. The danger is not so much in losing readers/viewers as it is in the audience losing a reliable and trustworthy resource. The old ethics must shift to the new media or we will all eventually be living in a fantasy world where nothing is real and whatever we want to believe can be validated by lies.