In The Beginning, There Was A Conference
The problem all writers face at one point or another is staring at that blank piece of paper (physical or digital) and wondering how to begin.
The obvious answer, of course, is to write from the beginning.
And so here I go.
Last week I had the pleasure of attending V3Con, an annual conference hosted by the Los Angeles chapter of the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA-LA), of which I am a board member. The conference focuses on digital media, and over the course of two days I had the pleasure of networking with and attending panels led by Asian Americans working in digital media.
The takeaway: Being a journalist of color is important.
It's important when telling the stories of people of color, and the ways we journalists are telling stories are increasing. I created this blog to write about communities of color and innovations in storytelling--two things that are important to me.
New means of communication and greater access to these means of communication are allowing people of color to spread their messages and voices far and wide. While blogging and organizing online has always been a thing in the age of the Internet (see: Angry Asian Man), the visibility people of color have had thanks to changing digital communication is incredible.
But one can't have completely rosy glasses when talking about visibility. While feminists, people of color and members of the LGBTQ community are getting their content out there, changing opportunities for these groups is still a slow change. Asian Actors like Ki Hong Lee, John Cho and Constance Wu have done much for Asian representation in Hollywood, yet we still get #OscarssoWhite. I have seen many friends click 'going' or 'interested' to Facebook events inviting people to talks about race and police brutality, but even after the boom of #BlackLivesMatter changes to police violence against people of color are microscopic if things are even changing.
This is the world I'm coming into as an adult: more visibility on issues such as immigration policy, affirmative action and LGBTQ rights. People are creating videos, Snapchat stories, Instagram posts, Facebook rants, etc. to empower audiences who have felt marginalized.
There is still much to be done when it comes to equality, but just recently the Pentagon announced that transgender soldiers can serve openly. The Supreme Court struck down Texas restrictions on abortion clinics, and similar policies in other states are up for contest. The Oscars may be white, but other means of entertainment are slowly having people of color in the main cast. It'll be interesting to see how minority communities use/take part in media to represent, empower and tell stories.
The Digital Age
Like I said earlier, access to the Internet is easier and more widespread, especially with smartphones. Applications and communicating through social digital platforms is affecting how people consume news, how platforms produce content and how the lines are blurred between tech, communication and business.
A few examples, based on trends in my time in J-School:
Snapchat Discover allows outlets to share top articles and video content
More videos are uploaded native to Facebook, and the shorter the better
Platforms are getting on the live video train
Robots write a lot of news stories
As a young journalist, I'm witness to a media landscape that is constantly changing. Video has taken over, all you have to so is look at the list above. The term "backpack journalism," the idea that a journalist has to be knowledgeable and produce content in multiple forms while in the field has expanded from being able to write, shoot photos and shoot video in the field to being able to live-tweet, Snapchat and occasionally shoot live video. 360-degree news videos are already here, with virtual reality storytelling just beginning.
Just a few ways technology is being used for creative storytelling:
Rape survivors use Snapchat filters to hide their identity while talking about their rape
Virtual reality allows audience to experience the life of a refugee girl
360-video allows viewers to watch cast of "Hamilton" preparing for the Tony Award at a whole new level (Video below. You're welcome.)
Despite the jokes about getting a job, it's an extremely exciting time to be in media, with technology affecting daily life in ways that are more complex than an app that tracks how many calories consumed in a day.
Join For The Ride
This is, in the end, a narrative of how diverse narratives are being told because of changes in how people exchange information. Can't wait to see where this goes.
(gif courtesy of wix)
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