In this post, I am simply responding to a series of question aimed at getting to know me and my opinions on media better; it is my hope that my responses achieve such an aim.
Why are you in this class?
My primary interest is anthropology, yet I am convinced that anthropology and journalism are compatible in that (photo)journalism provides a more publicly-accessible and engaging medium to document anthropological findings. Both areas of study function to better understand and communicate the human condition accurately, critically, and compassionately with the ultimate goal of bringing more good into the world. The notion of bringing more good into the world in anthropological study is considered in this video recording of Paul Farmer, an anthropologist, physician, co-founder of Partners in Health, and Harvard professor, discussing liberation theology with colleague David Carrasco, a historian of religion and anthropologist.
What is your experience with media?
It is nearly impossible not to engage in various forms of media (books, newspapers, television, music, the Internet, etc.) in our contemporary context. That being the case, it is increasingly important to be conscious of the media that we consume on a daily basis. I have very limited experience with social media. I have no social media accounts. I recognize that social media can act as a platform to express and circulate thoughts and ideas and undoubtedly connect us with others despite physical separation. Yet, I have found that social media is far too often used as a vehicle of expression that portrays perfection and dismisses blemishes and shortcomings (reserved for offline). Such use constructs a misconstrued reality and sets an unrealistic precedent to try to live up to, which present the opportunity for dangerous comparisons.
Are you always on a screen?
I intentionally disconnect from the digital world. I am in indebted to David Sax for what I present regarding such reasoning. In his book “The Revenge of Analog: Real Things and Why They Matter,” Sax comments on the revival of analog and insightfully observes that “the real world isn’t black or white. It is not even gray. Reality is multicolored, infinitely textured, and emotionally layered… And it’s often analog — perhaps less efficient, less perfect, less speedy — which best captures those human imperfections, creating a tactile interface with the world.”
Hate the computer? Love your phone?
I do not hate my computer, nor do I love my phone. Both of these verbs are unfit in that they are too extreme. Love and hate fall on opposite ends of a spectrum where the most appropriate verb lies somewhere in between.
What frustrates you about news media?
What I find to be the most frustrating aspect of news media is the level of inaccuracy and lack of meaningful depth that a story deserves likely due to competition from other new media outlets appealing to the same audience.
What do you think the news media and journalists do well?
News media and journalist are great at reaching people.
What is your experience with programming? None? HTML basics?
For all intents and purposes, I have no experience in programming. I learned a bit in a high school course; however, I have absolutely no retention of such information.
What concerns you about a world that is so immersed in media? A world that is so linked?
My biggest concerns about a world that is so engaged in media is a loss of thoughtful self-reflection, a sense of belonging and community offline, and the value of face-to-face interactions.
What are the benefits?
In being so immersed, we have great access to information (whether that information is accurate and reliable remains to be seen) and unprecedented global connectivity. More than any other point in history, we are more connected and knowledgeable about our brothers and sisters around the world who have life experiences vastly different from our own.