Results tagged “Slow Food Movement” from ARTicles

Well, I too was at the aforementioned Slow Journalism panel, passing the USC Annenberg/Getty Arts Journalism "helper" baton to John. Though I think the Slow label lends itself too easily to bad jokes, I agree with Doug's idea that many of the principles of the Slow Food movement may be applied to journalism in general -- and arts journalism especially. Sure, large traditional companies are overworking already hammered critics, reporters, and editors in the name of online presence. (Two blog posts a week! Audio slideshow! Flip it!) But I don't blame the Internet itself for that. And a digital pluralism of voices doesn't necessarily undermine quality, which is the fear some of us old fogeys have.


By the way, newsprint folks, has the Newspaper Guild just rolled over and died? Actually, it did years ago, when the union refused to understand the importance of freelancers and how they/we would be employed (as it were) to undermine staff jobs. At least the U.A.W. raises a flag for its members as government billions change hands.


I would like to focus, though, on a statement someone in our business made, a very smart person on the digital side of the Internet divide. Working so closely and constantly with images, this introspective journalist claimed, has made it more difficult to write.


Aren't images enough? Some blogs, for example, do marvelous things with them, with or without captions. narrative or not. Still, the troubled journalist was worried that the writing part of his imagination needed exercise, needed time to wade into deeper water.


An art critic for more than four decades told me that at one of his jobs, he wasn't allowed to choose the images (the photo editor did, usually of artist-friends). So the critic learned to write in an "I am a camera" manner, squeezing description, evaluation, and occasionally that extra "why is this important?" thought into the few hundred words he had. Would he rather have had photos galore to play with, as he does on his blog now? "Both words and photos," he told me. "As long as I have enough time."

November 21, 2008 8:01 AM |

I can't take credit for the phrase, but I am wondering if there are readers out there who could add to the idea of Slow Journalism. Here's how it came to me...

Naka Nathaniel of the New York Times spoke to the Specialized Journalism students at USC Annenberg School for Communication about two weeks ago. His video reporting on dangerous, wartorn places -- a refugee camp in Rwanda, the slave trade in Cambodia, a wedding in a bomb shelter in Israel and genocide in Darfur, for example-- are usually accompanied by Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Nick Kristof's heart of darkness texts and narration and they hold their place as art.

Nathaniel's framing is void of sentiment, pity or looky-loo giddiness. There's no shred of journalistic competitiveness -- "We got the story and you didn't, CNN. Take that." Rather, as if Nathaniel and Kristoff were the arm of Human Rights Watch, their gutsy scrupulousness pervades. What could be an ignoble intrusion into the lives of desperate people on hospital beds and in other dispiriting situations they render transcendent. Poverty is more important for us to see than for us to see them seeing it. Make sense?

Hard not to respect Nathaniel and Kristof's advocacy and work. 

Then Nathaniel, sort of off the cuff, threw out to the USC students that what he was doing was part of the Slow Journalism Movement and that instead of being motivated to "feed the beast" and break news, he was more interested in his audience. "Why do a hundred photographers try to get the same shot of Michael Phelps? Why not stop competing with each other and share resources? One or two photographers will do the trick? Send the rest out for other stories," he argued.

Peculiarly, a couple of days later crackerjack blogger and one of my favorite journalists, Mr. Jalopy of Hooptyrides, said that what he was doing was not unrelated to the Slow Food Movement. He, the author of the Maker's Bill of Rights, is a major player in the DIY movement. Mark Frauenfelder, his friend and boing-boing journalism colleague, he said, was deep into tending his garden and practicing Slow Food habits, while also editing the succesful niche magazine, MAKE. Frauenfelder might be the living proof that Slow Food and Slow Journalism are cohabitating genially in real time.

Simultaneously...Slow Food USA is an organization in Brooklyn that's going gangbusters, spawned in part by the ideology of Alice Waters. Waters influenced opera and theater director Peter Sellars, who wove the political, philosophical and gastronomic pleasures of Slow Food into his New Crowned Hope Festival in Vienna in late 2006. 

So, what's up? Have you jumped on the SloJo SloFo bandwagon? Maybe jumped is too active, let's say...sauntered over and sat down, setting your competitive ego aside to absorb, notice and deeply care about what's around you. To heck with deadlines or breaking the news -- these are things of the past. Distinguished journalists and artists have better things to do.

September 7, 2008 10:43 PM |


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