Tuesday, 15 January 2008

The eyeblogger manifesto: visual journalism and visual story telling

Eye bloggers believe in the „iconic turn“ as it describes the medial shift of paradigm from text towards image.

In the past the image followed and supported the text content. In the convergent media worlds text will follow more and more the visual content message (even print will continue to become more and more visual).

Related to the iconic turn is the term „visual literacy“ , defining the intellectual human capability to decode and interpret images.

The visual shift, the growing media dominance of picture, video, info graphic or other visual forms of content vs. text will accelerate in the upcoming years. The arguments are apparent:

1. Text is an inconvenient and highly demanding access to information. It will become more and more a tool of the information elite. Mass media on the other hand will attract users more and more via a more emotional and less complicated visual access.

2. Within the next five years TV and web will converge. IPTV and video streaming on internet portals will replace classic broadcast TV. Video will become a strong third visual format besides photo and info graphics.

3. The convergence of TV and web will resolve the divide in user experience between lean back (TV) and lean forward (web) scenarios. The hybrid combination of TV and web requires graphical interfaces to navigate from the couch.

4. Advertisement is shifting from the established media to the web. The new tools to measure reach and justify ad spendings are changing. Clicks and page impressions will be replaced by view time. A pre condition for this new criteria are visual and interactive contents with high stickiness, which attract people and keep them on the site as long as possible.

5. Technically VDSL broadband allows complex and data rich visualisations. User who can afford these high speed accesses, expect a new user experience. New combinations of visuality, interactivity and multimediality will in their potential beat all established media formats (e.g. world of warcraft).

6. All media platforms converge. Within a couple of years users will hardly be able to distinguish the web portals of print-, TV- or internet only providers since they will all offer the same elements of text, picture, info graphic, audio and of course video.

7. Visualisation still seems to be a theoretical subject for information scientists and digital artists. Now it is time to use the new opportunities for professional visual story telling and develop a visual journalism. This is especially true since images and visualisation can easily be manipulated or be misinterpreted. Linking the emotionality of images to the preciseness of the word is a highly journalistic duty and profession.

8. The convergence of digital platforms will lead to a convergence of journalistic job profiles. The basic competence of print and broadcast editors will get more and more similar. Focus and joint fundament will be visual web formats.

9. Visual journalism will pose new requirements to editorial training. A new profile of visual editors will unite classical journalistic abilities with the competence for visuality, interactivity and mulimediality.

10. Visual content can easily inform and entertain a global audience, regardless what language they speak. It thus ideally meets the requirements of the web as the only truly global medium.

11. Even in e-learning visual story telling provides new opportunities for handicapped people suffering from dyslexia and illiteracy.

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