Oggi si tengono a New York i funerali di David Carr, grande giornalista del New York Times, firmava tra l’altro la molto seguita rubrica settimanale Media Equation ( i suoi articoli scritti dal marzo 2007 sono pubblicati nel sito del giornale), morto improvvisamente in redazione la sera di giovedì scorso (l’autopsia ha accertato che la causa era un cancro al polmone).
Quale fosse il pensiero e lo stile di Carr lo si capisce bene dalla sua presentazione del corso ‘ Press play, making and distributing content in the present future we are living through‘, che teneva alla Universita’ di Boston, pubblicata sulla piattaforma Medium. Alleghiamo il testo nella versione originale in inglese in attesa della traduzione in italiano. Un utile lettura anche per tutti noi.
Press Play, making and distributing content in the present future we are living through.
This thing of ours:
This course, Press Play, aspires to be a place where you make things. Good things. Smart things. Cool things. And then share those things with other people. The idea of Press Play is that after we make things we are happy with, that we push a button and unleash it on the world. Much of it will be text, but if you want to make magic with a camera, your phone, or with a digital recorder, knock yourself out. But it will all be displayed and edited on Medium because there will be a strong emphasis on working with others in this course, and Medium is collaborative.
While writing, shooting, and editing are often solitary activities, great work emerges in the spaces between people. We will be working in groups with peer and teacher edits. There will be a number of smaller assignments, but the goal is that you will leave here with a single piece of work that reflects your capabilities as a maker of media.But remember, evaluations will be based not just on your efforts, but on your ability to bring excellence out of the people around you. Medium has a remarkable “notes” function where the reader/editor can highlight a specific word, phrase or paragraph and comment, suggest a tweak or give an attaboy. This is counter-intuitive, but you will be judged as much by what you put in the margins of others work as you are for your own. (You should sign on to Medium as soon as you can. You can log in with Facebook or Twitter credentials. Pithy instructions on writing and collaborating on Medium: here, here, here, and, yes, here.)To begin with, we will look at the current media ecosystem: how content is conceived, made, made better, distributed, and paid for. We will discuss finding a story, research and reporting, content management systems, voice, multimedia packaging, along with distribution and marketing of work. If that sounds ambitious, keep in mind that in addition to picking this professor and grad assistant, we picked you. We already know you are smart, and we just want you to demonstrate that on the (web) page.
What we‘ll create:
Together, we will make a collection of stories on Medium around a specific organizing principle — it could be a genre, topic, reading time, or event — which we’ll decide on in collaboration as well. And once we get stories up and running, we will work on ways of getting them out there into the bloodstream of the web.
In order to have a chance of making great work, you have to consume remarkable work. Fair warning: There will be a lot of weekly reading assignments. I’m not sliming you with a bunch of textbooks, so please know I am dead serious about these readings. Skip or skim at your peril.
I will be bringing in a number of guest speakers. They will be talented, accomplished people giving their own time. Please respond with your fullest attention.
So, to summarize: We will make things — in class, in groups, by our lonely selves — we will work to make those things better, and, if we are lucky, we will figure out how to beckon the lightning of excellence along the way.
30% final project
30% collaboration, based on assessment of your notes on others’ work
20% class participation and demonstrated familiarity with the assigned reading
20% smaller assignments
I grade based on where you start and where you end. Don’t work on me for a better grade—work on your work and making the work of those around you better. Show industriousness and seriousness and produce surpassing work if you want an exceptional grade.
Don’t raise your hand in class. This isn’t Montessori, I expect people to speak up when they like, but don’t speak over anyone. Respect the opinions of others.
This is an intense, once-a-week immersion on the waterfront of modern media-making. If you don’t show up for class, you will flounder. If you show up late or unprepared, you will stick out in unpleasant ways. If you aren’t putting effort into your work, I will suggest that you might be more comfortable elsewhere.
If you text or email during class, I will ignore you as you ignore me. It won’t go well.
I expect you to behave as an adult and will treat you like one. I don’t want to parent you—I want to teach you.
Excuses: Don’t make them — they won’t work. Stories are supposed to be on the page, and while a spoken-word performance might explain everything, it will excuse nothing. The assignments for each week are due by start of class without exception unless specific arrangements have made based on an exceptional circumstance.
If you truly have a personal or family emergency, your welfare comes first. But nothing short of that will have any traction with me.
If you are having trouble understanding expectations or assignments or instruction, please speak up. I care a lot about not leaving anybody behind.
This is a web-based course. We will transparently link to all sources. Failure to appropriately cite the work of others is a serious matter. Work done for Press Play may not be submitted for another class, and the reverse is also true. Do not use friends or Wikipedia as sources. All other BU academic standards and the University Code of Conduct will be observed and enforced.
Weekly assignments as noted in the outline. The assigned reading for each week must be completed before that class.
Before we begin the semester, do read:
“The Case for Reparations” by Ta-Nehisi Coates for The Atlantic
“The Empathy Exams” and “Fog Count” by Leslie Jamison (I highly recommend her whole book, btw, but it is not assigned as such.)
“The Wrestler” by David Carr for Medium