Last Friday was my birthday (hooray, another year older!) and as I move more into the world of journalism with the aim of hopefully doing a postgraduate course in it next academic year, I asked for a couple of books on the subject. One of those was We the Media: Grassroots Journalism By the People, For the People by Dan Gillmor. First printed in 2004, with the paperback edition that I now own printed in 2006, it’s a little out of date for the fast-moving world of information technology, but is still held in extremely high regard, and I think it’ll be a worthwhile read. It was also written with a rather different audience to myself in mind: one for whom the idea of receiving real-time journalistic updates from inside a press conference or significant world event would be a revelation; who would find the idea that ordinary people might have a voice and views of importance equal to that of designated newsmakers to be controversial; and to whom the Internet must seem like a chaotic, volatile upstart muscling in on the orderly, established world of media.
I grew up on the Internet, and its language and ways are second nature to me. The journalism I’m most familiar with is not heavily-regulated and polished ‘Big Media’ but ever-fluctuating, ever-evolving online journalism, which is not a lecture but a conversation, and one in which the people play a part as important as that of the newsmakers. Online, news breaks first via the people, and newsmakers have to listen to them to find out what’s going on, instead of the other way around.
February 15, 2014: truly a day for the fandom history books. Why? Because by pure serendipity, two milestone events for the fandom community have collided on the exact same day. One is “Fandompocalypse Day”, an movement to unite fans of disparate fandoms in a joint show of pride and unity; the other is the user-oriented, not-for-profit multimedia fanworks site Archive Of Our Own reaching one million published works.
Both events celebrate the diverse and unifying nature of fandom in different ways: Fandompocalypse aims to bring the fandom movement offline with a visual display of fandom support in day-to-day life, while the “ao3million” celebrations are purely online, based around graphics, Twitter hashtags and uploading new fanworks to the site. Nevertheless, the spirit of enjoyment and sharing the fandom love is exactly the same.
This evening I spent about an hour and a half at the Careers in Creative Industries event, the biggest careers event of the year relating to media and communications at Cambridge University. I’d been trying to psych myself up for this event for some time, because I knew it was supposed to involve that dreaded thing called Networking. I think networking is all well and good when you actually have something to say for yourself about who you are and what you do, but when you don’t, it becomes sort of like “Hi, my name’s Rebecca and I … er … am currently wasting your time.”
I went to a dedicated session on networking in the creative industries (specifically aimed at building up the skills needed for this event) last week, and I was less awful at it than I thought I’d be; but there’s a difference between doing roleplay exercises with a lecture theatre full of students who are exactly as clueless as you are, and staring down an aisle lined with tables manned by suited professionals trying to decide who looks least intimidating to talk to, or hanging around trying to look like you have a reason to be there while you’re waiting for a particular person to be free for you to talk with.
One of the positive aspects of fanworks and fandom that’s often brought up in discussions is their openness to and frank celebration of romantic relationships which don’t receive much mainstream attention or exposure. Say what you want about slash fics; at least they (mostly) take queer relationships seriously and treat them as the norm rather than as sideshows or tokens. Frankly, I’d rather be the position of complaining about too many gay relationships than too few; and anyone who is upset because those relationships go against canon should really think hard about why canon relationships are so rarely queer. But anyway. I’m sure that point has been made plenty of times already far more eloquently than I ever could. In this post I wanted to bring to your attention a truly beautiful relationship (which is canon within its little odd series) which transcends notions of gender, sexuality and even humanity in the most adorable way.