We see what we want to see. We also see the things that the media frames for us.
We do not see what we don’t want to see and we do not see the things outside the media’s dominant frame unless we choose to look.
Jon Alsop is a freelance journalist who writes Columbia Journalism Review’s newsletter The Media Today. He chooses to look.
It’s a cliché that a picture is worth a thousand words. It can be—but when it comes to the flouting, or apparent flouting, of lockdown rules, a thousand words is better than a picture.
…All too often, however, outraged reactions to crowd photos are reflexive and misplaced. Taken together, they risk creating a narrative of widespread disobedience that is just wrong, or at least devoid of important social context.
Alsop argues that the same exact setting can be shot in different ways depending on the lens, the camera angle, lighting, and so on. The point is the photog, like the writer, has something to say. A photog’s work is not factual relay, it’s commercial and/or artistic imagery designed to move people.
Alsop points to this Tweet for more information on the topic:
Danish news site reminds people of being skeptical of how news photographers take pictures. Here is the same place, one picture taken with a zoom lense, and the other with a wide-angle lense: https://t.co/lPMJDHXOfD pic.twitter.com/mOSpiFEsDx
— Thomas Baekdal (@baekdal) April 26, 2020
In related news, Time Magazine reports on the growing compulsion to tattle on thy neighbor:
Snitches are emerging as enthusiastic allies as cities, states and countries work to enforce directives meant to limit person-to-person contact amid the virus pandemic that has claimed tens of thousands of lives worldwide. They’re phoning police and municipal hotlines, complaining to elected officials and shaming perceived scofflaws on social media.
Ah yes, the old shaming of perceived scofflaws trick.
Is That A Tisk-Tisk You’re Making Under Your Mask?
Question for you. Have you been outside walking your dog or waiting for takeout and had someone you do not know judge you, from a safe distance of course, for not wearing a mask? And how did that make you feel?
Here’s another question. Have you taken to social media to vent about how stupid and careless your fellow citizens are?
Because this is a resource dedicated to advancing knowledge of how media, marketing, and advertising work, I will state the obvious: You do not push people to your side. You persuade them to join you.
The Hoboken Dino says no social distancing + no masks = extinction pic.twitter.com/uozCdJZdhB
— City of Hoboken (@CityofHoboken) April 21, 2020
Pandemic times call for greater expressions of humanity. To laugh is human and right now humans need to laugh. We may also need to push back from our screens in order to do so.
I am pushing back from my screen now. At least for a little while.