Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: The Media (in any form) (11/11/10)
- TITLE: Analog to Digital - A Transforming Generation
By Brian Passe
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The Media, as a group, is a contemporary description of varied news and information outlets. It began with the emergence of cable TV and CNN. The first 24 hour news service changed not only how we watched the news, but how it was defined and presented. Freed from the thirty minute time slot, news broadcasts began presenting feature stories along with breaking headlines. A medium once limited by technology and time, was replaced by a revolutionary digital age. The medium no longer limited nor defined the message.
Digital information is instantaneous. A cell phone captures an unsuspecting politician as he makes comments going from one meeting to another. With the push of a few buttons a video is transferred to a social network and relayed around the globe. The simple act of reading a newspaper changed from reading above the fold to scrolling a handheld screen.
Video stories no longer require studios, professional cameras, lights and yards of clumsy wires. Streaming video requires only a digital camera and a satellite link to watch a battlefield struggle, or an astronaut float above a space station. Upload and download are now common words in our contemporary lexicon.
The analog media and readers watch as words give way to digital video - uploaded by amateur and professional journalists. We tell family and co-workers to upload it to an unseen server. Then we download it to our notebook or wireless, handheld device. Stories that once took weeks to record, edit and produce are replaced by palm sized high-definition recorders, and inexpensive editors.
Along with the transformation of the medium, an entirely new genre appeared - the blog. Matt Drudge revolutionized the digital medium when he exposed the flaws of a president. Sitting alone with a computer, and access to the internet, he heralded the flaws and foibles of several public officials. He reaches millions each day using a Wi-Fi enabled computer, e-mail, and a cell phone. Websites, another contemporary entry to our lexicon, host blogs - an unassuming name for a powerful instrument of communication. The line between news, commentary, and hoax has now significantly blurred if not vanished.
So what becomes of The Media? Corporate broadcasters still feature themselves as the true media. Their denials expose the size and effect of their upstart digital rivals. Newspapers print fewer pages as their advertisers turn to the new medium. The evening news no longer gathers a family around the television. Talk radio audiences listen to stored podcasts if they missed their favorite host. Few, if any, set their DVR to record the once dominant nightly television newscast.
Technology and software will continuously create new generations of digital devices. The Media, as a once easily defined group, will probably become a memory of the analog generation. Archives will store the recordings of onetime print and broadcast media giants. The digital age will return to those recordings and look at them as novelties and moments in history. The WWII voice of the bombing of Britain, the death of a president and the first footprint on the moon will become clips of a digital high school project.
Solomon, long before the analog age, wrote: There is no remembrance of former things, nor will there be any remembrance of later things yet to be among those who come after. So it will be with The Media. One should not weep of things no longer remembered. They are just things. Regardless of the medium, there is one unchanging message - the gospel of Jesus Christ. Changing mediums will never silence His message. His words are timeless and eternal. Analog, digital, or whatever, the Word of will be with us today, tomorrow and for days uncounted.
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