Media

Sustainability shop talk

I recently wrote a piece for the Guardian’s sustainability section on media companies and reporting; Can the Global Reporting Initiative succeed where others have failed on media accountability?

Some of the thoughts were recycled into a conference presentation that I gave last week.

The main idea is that content producing organisations can have the most impact through their ‘brainprint’, not by bringing down their operational footprint.

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Reading about Knud Rasmussen on the Tube

A good book will, of course, close its tentacles around you and suck you into a parallel universe. There is, nevertheless, something great about maintaining the connection between the fictional world set out on the pages and the ‘real’ world in which the reading takes place.

In my personal experience, it was while travelling in Turkey that I started marvelling over Orhan Pamuk’s books, namely ‘The New Life‘, which is all about movement, twists and turns in small town Turkey. The sublime architecture of my ‘old’ university in Aarhus formed the backdrop of most of Svend Aage Madsen‘s detours into the realm of magic. Javier Marias described the farcical nature of Oxford so well that the book itself became almost too predictable (or was it the other way round?).

In short, to me the best books are not necessarily self-contained universes, rather they are merely pointers to or reminders of personal spaces and experiences.

All the nonsense above is just a long-winded introduction to another mechanism for enhancing the reading experience: seeking out contexts that are completely contrary to the settings described in the book.

I recently finished reading the biography of Denmark’s greatest Arctic explorer, Knud Rasmussen. The vast desolate spaces of Greenland took on even greater depths in the depths of the London Tube, close to bursting with 8.15am commuters during an involuntary, non-permanent marriage with public transport whilst I got my bike fixed.

Giles Coren has something to say about books and places, too.

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In media we trust?

I have been working on this event for a while, please attend if you can:

In Media We Trust?
The media isn’t what it used to be, neither are we. This event will ask to what extent we have become more informed and better at reaching the right decisions as citizens in a society dripping with information.

What does it take to be media savvy, as the line between media consumer and media provider is increasingly blurred? Whose responsibility is it to foster media literacy anyway?  

An interactive panel debate with Ben Hammersley (Editor at Large, Wired), Matt Locke (Commissioning Editor for New Media and Education, Channel 4) and David McCandless (Author of ‘Information is Beautiful’).

The event is free and open to all. No need to register. Thursday March 18th, 6.30-8pm, followed by drinks.

Pose your questions in advance at elviswalks.com and forward them to questions@elviswalks.com.

New Theatre, London School of Economics & Political Science, Houghton St, London WC2A 2AE

Presented by the Media CSR Forum in association with POLIS.

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Connected

Check out my cousin’s latest project, Connected; a scarily cool movie that makes even Belgium look like a nice place:

Set in the distant future, Connected is a story about survival and greed with a post apocalyptic wasteland as its backdrop. Survivors of an unknown disaster shuffle through a desolate landscape, as it quickly becomes clear that not everybody has the strength to survive.

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Media literacy

Yesterday saw the launch of a project in which I have invested a lot of energy and effort.

For once it is public facing, so I would encourage you to educate yourself on why media literacy is important by visiting this sparkling new site: How Media Is Made.

For those wondering what a headline generator might be, there is another virtual entrance here: Elvis Walks.

In connection with the launch, I wrote a background piece for the Guardian. Check it out here.

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Yesterday…

I heard a Shadow Minister casually drop the word ‘mashup’ into the conversation. That can only be a good sign of the things to come.

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In search of the perfect movement

Inasmuch as I hate musicals, I have a soft spot for certain forms of dance. Watching a performance by La La La Human Steps some years ago certainly helped this appreciation come about.

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Oxford on iTunes U

Admittedly, Oxford University is no MIT in terms of putting curricula and other stuff online, but the new site on iTunes is an excellent resource for those who cannot attend the many talks and lectures in person. The Light Blues are there, too.

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Monday morning and nothing better to do

Yes, Kevin Spacey will be a visiting professor at Catz next term, adding to a fine list of specimens such as Patrick Stewart and Cate Blanchett. Perhaps I should stick around a little longer…

The Guardian has asked Mark Haddon, author of the delightful book The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, to write about current UK refugee policies. Reading it is like receiving a punch to the gut.

I ask Sergey what he wants from life. ‘For myself I want to be kind. If you are cold I can give you this jacket. But this jacket, it is rubbish. If you say you need money I have no money to give you. What has happened to me? I try to be kind, to be kind, to be kind. I want my two sons learning that. To be kind. To be polite. To be gentlemen. I am their father, I am the head of the family, but I cannot help. I am like a dead man here.’

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On self-fulfilling prophecies

The whole fuss about Geert Wilders’ propaganda movie illustrates critically the century-old but eternally relevant question about the extent to which the media create their own stories rather than merely describing events as they happen.

The movie itself is nothing but a mishmash of ‘deadly’ quotes from the Qur’an, explicit post-terror footage, juicy newspaper headlines, and the sort of ‘statistics’ that appeals so broadly, yet describes nothing. Any teenager with a laptop could pull together a ‘movie’ like this, post it on YouTube, and no-one would ever raise an eyebrow.

But thanks to the media, always hungry for a good scandal, this pathetic piece of ‘documentary’ is all of a sudden standing smack in the middle of a ‘clash between civilizations,’ ramifying into the upper echelons of political life and probably hitting a street near you pretty soon. The prophecy is slowly fulfilling itself.

Some things are best ignored.

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