I spent today watching grass grow and the wind blow. Reflecting on my life the past few months and the chaos of the months to come. I am primarily a visual person…but a visual person with an abiding love of the written word. Books. Newspapers. Magazines. Because I grew up in the 1950s and 60s – before television became a dominent force in daily life – reading was my passion and my escape from the world. A good book could summon up images and visions supplied by my imagination.
But I am a visual learner and my passion is creating visuals so others can see what I see. And these two sides of me are in conflict right now.
I teach English to high school freshmen, as well as broadcasting. I increasingly find my English students will not (or can not) read for pleasure. Their world is so much more visual than mine was at their age. Between TV, movies, video games, and the Internet, every crevice in their brains is filled with images created by others. They’ve never had the opportunity to sit quietly…with nothing to do…and read and dream up their own fantasies. And this saddens me, because they are our future.
What this means to journalism is apparent – images attract an audience. This audience will increase as my students go out into the world and their buying power increases. Pictures and video are the way to go – but neither, in my opinion, can convey information in the depth of a written/printed article. So while I love to produce videos, love to teach broadcasting….one part of me is contributing to the death of another part of me. And one part of me may be contributing towards a social shift towards a two class society: those who read and write and those who don’t/won’t.
Which class do you think will rule?