Chinny, Chin, Chin Media

In several recent blogs I have talked about information, misinformation, disinformation, and lack of information… and also “information anxiety”.

The “news cycle” seems to be heating up again.  The shootings at the Toronto street party and the movie theater killings in Colorado last weekend have reopened  debates about gun control and our reasonable expectation of safety in public places. The US moves closer to the Republican Convention and the November election. And the London Olympics open this Friday.

Stay tuned for information overload!

At our house, while we try hard not to overdo it, we are very aware of the current media stories, whether in print, on television, or on the internet. When the information sources agree in too many ways, we wonder about who is controlling the data flow, and what is being censored out or passed over. When they disagree, we wonder whom to believe.

Have you ever had the experience of witnessing or being part of an event, and then seen the media response and wondered if it was the same event? I had a vivid experience of this years ago, and it reminds me not to believe all I see reported.

It was a lovely spring Saturday and we had taken our two sons, then in middle school, to Toronto for a day at the Royal Ontario Museum. As we walked from the parking lot in Yorkville, traffic on Avenue Road was stopped for a parade moving west along Bloor. Without realizing it, we had stumbled onto one of the earliest Gay Pride parades. Most people were walking pleasantly, many behind wide banners with the names of churches or local organizations… people of all ages, some with children. At the end there were a couple of floats with a few outrageously dressed or underdressed men, flinging themselves about to loud recorded music, kissing each other and blowing kisses to the spectators. The quietly supportive demonstration was not reported at all, but the last few minutes of the parade was covered on national television and received much comment. I suppose media bias happens all the time.  What makes good TV footage rarely tells the whole story.

I have heard lectures and political speeches that were grossly misrepresented, and have read reviews of classical concerts and dramatic performances that have left me speechless. I have also, as parent and teacher, had to figure out what really happened when hearing multiple competing versions of the same event.

So I was delighted to find The Guardian’s award-winning version of The Three Little Pigs, which was embedded in the blog on July 17.

The ad’s conceit is wonderful—imagining how the modern news media would cover the story of the Three Little Pigs boiling the Big Bad Wolf. Playing out like a docudrama, it begins with swat police storming the pigs’ house and taking them into custody. As news of the incident spreads, the familiar fevered 24/7 information cycle takes hold, as journalists and citizens investigate and analyze the swirl of facts, conjecture and opinion about the case.

The multimedia wash of information is expertly presented and visually stunning—from tweets and YouTube videos to a particularly wonderful segment with the Guardian website presenting a computerized “Huff and Puff” simulation to determine whether the wolf could have blown two of the pigs’ houses down in the first place, as he’s accused of doing.

from Jim Romenesko ‘s media blog (first link below)

Who knew an ad to celebrate not just a newspaper, but possibly the entire journalism industry, could be so good? , how we get it, and its affect on us when we have too much, too little, or too late…. Earlier this month, the U.K.’s The Guardian unveiled a two-minute spot that explored how a modern paper might cover “Three Little Pigs.”… it reimagines the classic fairytale as a much grittier drama, where the pigs are either the victims or conniving fraudsters — or both….  The Guardian, wanted to communicate the paper’s “open journalism” approach, which emphasizes the exchange of ideas from reader to reporter to reader, with the goal of bringing about change…. “The debate we wanted to provoke was about the role of journalism in the modern world…”It’s been great to see the debate play out.”

from Advertising Age (second link below)

You can see the two-minute ad  and read more from the articles about it here, and here.

It is brilliant satire, tough and thought-provoking.  I hope you enjoyed it.

What do you think about the ad, and about the current state of media reporting?

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