How do you envision the media of tomorrow? It’s a daunting question that some may prefer to leave to the professionals. In reality, everyone has a stake — from the everyman to the working Journalist. On Thursday morning, both convened at “Créer ensemble les médias de demain,” a workshop hosted by Place to B Canada and Ricochet Media.
Journalists or citizens? When it comes to developing a prototype for progressive media, labels can be discarded. In this spirit, 25 participants convened to discuss pivotal questions that lie at the core of the debate. How can the media refrain from sensationalist story-telling? What measures can be taken to prevent media conglomerates from selling our souls to advertising giants? What actions can be taken to ensure that story-telling remains objective? How can Journalists dig deeper into their subjects instead of mass-producing stories that barely scratch the surface?
The exercise was deceptively simple: develop a mission statement, determine from whom or where the content would be sourced, and draft a financial plan. There was also one catch — absolutely no words.
With titles such as “Mediactive,” (a portmanteau word from “media” and “active”), “La Cible” (the target) and “Hélevonsnous” (a play on words that could either read as “let’s rise” or “let’s elevate ourselves”), the group used visual means to present their alternative media. The initiatives would employ multiple platforms, in order to encourage greater collaboration between Journalists and citizens, provide more efficient digital tools for fact-checking, ensure that there is a place for positive news, create ties with millennials, and, essentially, verify that the publication’s perspectives are critical, inclusive, and wide-reaching.
A main point to emerge was the fact that it was the media’s responsibility not simply to inform, but also to educate the public. “It’s important for the media itself to educate citizens about how susceptible they are to messages that are disseminated,” said one participant.
Regardless of whether they were employees of, among others, Radio Canada, Les Alter Citoyens, L’Itineraire, or “ordinary citizens,” the change-makers agreed that the media should be built together. Communication between the media and the public, as well as between media companies, should be accessible, diverse, and egalitarian.
In the digital era, it is equally important to consider how we can create a new media that facilitates physical connections, not just virtual ones. The media is an ideal vessel to cultivate relationships in an age when the transmission of information has become an increasingly impersonal and individualistic process.
Laure Cerisy, a student in the Institut du Nouveau Monde (INM) summer school, said she came into the workshop with a rather cynical perspective of the media and that she stopped reading the news because it had failed to broaden her outlook of the world. Smiling brightly after the discussion, she shared some final thoughts: “I now have a lot of hope and am willing to give the media another chance.”