Thursday, 19 January 2012

Apple has finally confirmed the worst kept secret of 2012; its foray into the schorlarly publishing industry. Smart move of course, amazing to think Blackboard has lasted this long, but success seems to depend on widespread educative adoption of the iPad. Or does the iPad's success depend on the widespread adoption of the iBook Author (as its clumsily called)?

Either way, its a software/hardware excursion that could be really interesting and help define the book's future. Interactive, tablet driven publishing has real potential. That said, it's certainly not the end of the book's evolution, nor is the ebook market sewn up. Why do I say that? Well, you'll just have to wait and see… (come back February 3rd).

Books of course are where myths live and, as my posts this week are exploring (using Jack Lule as inspiration), news too is the habitat of the greater myth. Within the modern story of news and with The Victim identified (the print paper) and The Scapegoat named (the internet), we move onto the next myth, society's most pervasive. The Hero.

The hero, according to Lule, is an exemplary model for society. The trajectory is a familiar one. Humble beginnings, noble  quest, fierce battle, triumphant return. Lule argues that mass media has hollowed out this traditional hero though, in favour of one with their own agenda - the celebrity.

But The Hero of the modern story of news, a story in which an industry transforms, is different. He is a true hero. He is not necessarily a he. He is the journalist who can cope with technological change. Who has evolved into a marketing strategist. Who was blogging in '99? Who can tweet a sensation and jump to the scene of any story through a Facebook contact? A journalist who has mastered Google+ to save his reputation and that of his newspaper. Someone as happy to code as to coffee drink.

From humble beginnings as an apprentice on the newsfloor, a noble quest for truth, a bloody battle against the revolution in media publishing and eventually, the triumphant return. These are the men and women recognised in new media awards, approached by Google, who command online legions to amplify their truth.

Heroes have a thousand faces, says Lule, and for these new heroes, it couldn't be truer.

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