Lucie Kocourková. Photo: Jakub Fulín.
Getting upset and dreaming about the golden old days won’t really help us. We can talk about it after the premieres at the bar, but if we are meeting as media professionals and representatives of the trade media, we need to talk about completely different things! Economic conditions and reader behavior have changed. The transition to the Internet is a fact. Period, no discussion. Our task is to adapt and think about how to transform the way we publish so that we do not slip into trivialization and degradation of content and reach the same or greater number of readers, viewers and listeners. Sometimes this may also entail the need to abandon old and long-standing procedures. And it’s better to take it as a challenge than a defeat.
Criticism versus critical thinking
When we discuss whether it is possible to “transplant” art criticism into the online environment without it suffering, I think it is important to clarify what exactly we are asking. It is of course possible to publish criticism as a genre of written journalism on the web, we all do it. It is the maximum that can be done with classical criticism and review without interfering with its traditional structure. But let’s ask ourselves the question: is it really so important to find new ways for one or two specific traditional genres? Shouldn’t we be more generally concerned with how to express a critical opinion, critical judgment, critical thinking? Then it will seem quite obvious to us that we will use other means in a different environment.
It doesn’t matter if we express our judgment and opinion through an essay or a post on Xku, on the contrary, it is necessary to change the form, experiment and let playfulness into the creation process, even if it is perhaps not a habit. At the debate Theater newspapers in Pilsen, Marie Reslová remarked that she could not imagine that someone would read criticism as a podcast and she listened to it. Of course, this is an absurd notion. But it is necessary to completely turn the whole thinking around and ask exactly the opposite: what possibility does this popular format offer us to send an opinion and idea about theater and art into the electronic ether? Let’s start from what the new media offer us, not from what they limit us!
So what we can do?
- Spin videos and podcasts. I know, there are entry costs and a certain talent and charisma are required, which cannot be completely studied, but I am more and more convinced that those of us who want to be successful will hardly avoid this path. It is a different type of media content, each requires its own style, its own language – but there is not the slightest reason why it cannot be used to talk about (dance) art and calmly critically. Short and to the point. This is a problem for many of us, but we will have to face it.
- Man as a brand. In fact, it is not a new model at all! Already in the 18th and 19th centuries, the professions of journalists and writers sometimes merged, and famous personalities who excelled in both, at least my generation, diligently studied to become statesmen. Today they are not writers, but they are personalities who always stand out from the crowd. You can serve art and still be a brand for yourself. You need to have your own style, specific area of interest or way of presentation. If Zoe “Cojezoe” Maixner could build a thriving brand on popularizing national revival writers, why couldn’t the same be true of dance? Influencer not a dirty word. Let’s be them. If such a Mark Twain lived today, he would surely have tens of thousands of followers on Instagram.
- Expensive today technology they will discount and become time available both for readers and for us as authors – let’s think about it and prepare. Because just because it’s difficult and expensive to make a professional video or audio show today, doesn’t mean it will always be that way! In addition, many reliefs can be brought by applications programmed on the basis machine learning/AI. A well-recorded interview can already be transcribed by applications, and a high-quality translation can be “put in place” that we just need to work out in detail, too. They will surely also retouch and edit the video according to the verbal input, the development is moving forward incredibly quickly. Instead of whining about how easy someone is making their job these days, it’s better to make it easy too, right?
- Customize character content social networks. The problem is that social media trends and algorithms change quickly, so it would be strategic to find one in the industry as well soulmateswhich will help us in the long term with editing our messages, without spending half our lives on marketing training.
- Let’s connect as a community, even if we manage different media: for it is not competition, but plurality. Let’s give each other space, let’s talk to each other, let’s film each other, let’s share content with each other on our platforms. When we promote the reach of our messages, we help the spread of information about the entire industry and we all gain new readers.
And for myself, I will add one more promising prospect from an area that scares many creative people, and that is precisely Artificial Intelligence. Its programs can already write a newsletter, generate an article and also imitate a foreign voice. It creates an increasingly confusing and increasingly confusing environment, but one thing is likely to happen: the human factor will become a more rare and unique commodity or quality. The demand for guaranteed, detectably human-produced content – including writers and journalists – will increase. How humanoid authorship will be proven is a different matter, but I believe that it will once again strengthen the position of professionals, serious media, strong personalities who are authorities in their field. Perhaps the reader will soon be willing to pay for verified authentic content – to read a person’s opinion, to hear a real human voice in a podcast.
We don’t have to see only obstacles everywhere, but also hope and opportunity.