Last week Interisland Terminal hosted DEADLINE: A Journalism Film Series at R&D. Over the course of three nights three films were shown followed by a panel discussion with members of the Hawaii media/journalism community. For each film, panelists composed essays that were inspired by the film that preceded their panel.
I will concede that journalism and news reporting are neither my area of expertise nor an area that holds a lot of interest to me. The most I want from the news is for it to inform me should I happen to pick up a paper or catch Keahi Tucker on TV. My real interest in the film series was seeing the movies themselves and the related discussion to follow. What I got wasn’t what I was expecting, but it was fascinating and interesting nonetheless.
On the two nights I was able to attend, the post screening discussions veered largely into questions about journalism in today’s world. While I’ll get into some of the takeaways I got from the discussions in a bit, two things I do want to highlight were the insight and knowledge that the panelists brought to the conversation and the awesome moderating by Ben Trevino.
Each discussion started off with panelists relating the genesis of their essay to their film. While each essay was different, it was intriguing to see what kind of themes and questions each author pulled from their respective film; and given all of their different backgrounds in the field of journalism each provided unique insights and thought provoking questions and commentary in discussions.
On the moderator side of things, Ben provided excellent summations and pointed questions that keep the discussions moving and on track. I’ve been to a few Q&A’s and have listed to a bunch more and you can tell bad moderation from good. In bad cases a moderator will let either the audience or speaker ramble on longer than necessary or won’t be able to keep the discussion focused if it goes off track. While the Deadline film series audience and panelists were very cordial; Ben was able to distill a lot of good points from ongoing discussions and was never afraid to move the discussion in a new direction if needed to.
Here listed are the panelists that attended, the news organizations they work for, and the title of their essays to give you an idea of the collected experience that was on hand for discussion:
Good Night, and Good Luck – Wednesday, January 8
- Elizabeth Kieszkowski (Star Advertiser): Taking Sides: Which Voices Can You Trust?
- James Cave (The Offsetter): The Case of the Ugly Truth
- Keopu Reelitz (Mana Magazine): Hi, I’m a Journalist. Would You Like to See My Baggage?
A Fragile Trust – Thursday, January 9
- Jason Ubay (Hawaii Business Magazine): There’s More Than One Way to Skin a Hack
- Gene Park (Civil Beat): Blame in the Face of Blair’s Brand
- Ikaika Hussey (Hawaii Independent): Networked News
All the President’s Men – Friday, January 10
- Jared Kuroiwa (KHON): Can There be a Woodward and Bernstein in 2014?
- Jackie Perreira (Ka Leo): Who Watches the Watchdogs?
- Burt Lum (Hawaii Public Radio): The Future of the News Looks Like Data
Some of the interesting tidbits that I took away were:
- On the question of how do we trust reporting when people (reporters) take sides and have biases? (in relation to Kieszkowski’s and Reelitz’s essays) As demonstrated Edward R. Murrow in Good Night, and Good Luck; trust can be built by building a factual case and with good solid reporting. Build a strong enough case, and the truth is hard to dispute.
- Reporters and journalists can build credibility with their audience with solid reporting and building a good track record over time.
- In the area of citizen journalism–the jury is still out the credibility and verification of the reporting. Though it was only touched on in the discussion, my thoughts on citizen journalism are this: citizen journalism is very good at providing ‘of the moment’ news and information where news breaks. Can it do more? Probably. It will however, never replace the need for professional journalism. Professional journalists can not be everywhere at once–news breaks anywhere and at any time. Citizen journalists are everywhere (figuratively) and have the potential to break stories (ie, provide news and information) first.
- Ultimately it is up to the audience whether or not they decide to trust the the news and media sources that they do. Today, especially with accessibility of the Internet, it is ultimately the audience that 1)chooses to accept and trust the news they get from the sources that they get it from and 2) challenge or verify any news on their own by their own means.
- Brought up on the final night by Burt Lum–it’s not about trust in journalism, it’s what you do with the information that you consume.
I think that sums things up quite nicely.
With the conclusion of the DEADLINE film series, the Interisland Terminal peeps will be closing the door on their escapades in the R&D space they’ve called home for the past two years. While always meant to be temporary, having a venue to showcase the different projects and endeavors they like to do will definitely be missed. Not to worry though, the creative minds behind R&D will still be around, just a bit more mobile for the time being. Who knows, maybe one day we’ll get another film series from them. One can only hope.
More coverage on DEADLINE: A Journalism Film Series:
NonStop Honolulu gives a report on the first night of the film series by Tracy Chan.
HPR’s Bytemarks Cafe hosted Ben and James where they talked about the film series on air.
Gene Park’s essay A Cautionary Tale of Postmodern Journalism via The Offsetter.
Burt Lum’s essay The Internet of Things and the Future of Journalism via The Offsetter.