Multimedia, Slow Journalism as Process, and The Possibility of Proper Time
Digital communication is fast and easy; but as a cultural process communication is difficult, especially when it engages with strangers and strangeness. Roger Silverstone describes the space necessary for respectful communication as a “proper distance” vis-a`-vis mediated Others —neither too far away, nor too close to see the Other, and to recognise in her our own inherent Otherness. What Silverstone describes in terms of distance can also be considered in relation to time. This article builds on Silverstone’s ideas to outline a working definition of slow journalism as process, and it is argued that multimedia journalism provides a platform for communication that approximates “proper time”—journalism that is fast enough to engage, surprise and retain our attention, yet slow enough to respect a story’s nuance and complexity. It is argued that the poetics of photography provides a subversive logic of efficiency, capable of both revelation and evocation, and of helping us hear the Other; and that audio can expand our vision beyond the photographic frame, providing us with the necessary context and narrative to properly see. This is a narrative warp and weft. The trajectory of one form crosses and expands the narrative arc of the other, providing colour, depth, and nuance. Multimedia journalism can be quick and profound, fast and slow, short-form and long-form, thus occupying a critical middle ground between the impenetrable overloads and binary simplifications of digital communication, and opening a space and a time for mediated Others.
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