Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf? – The Guardian ‘Open Journalism’ and Social Media

Speed 01 March 2012

Last night, The Guardian launched a new TV advert to promote its ongoing ‘open journalism’ campaign, based around the children’s tale of the Three Little Pigs. The two minute video depicts how the escapades of these re-imagined characters, together with the Big Bad Wolf, are reported by the media – across print, digital and social media channels. With an unexpected twist in the tail (see what I did there?!), it posits that only this 360 degree view of the news can provide the most accurate and trustworthy account of events.

Big Bad Wolf

Image via Wikipedia

The ‘open journalism’ campaign began back in October when the newspaper took the decision to open up its daily news planning to the public, on the live newsroom, in a bid to demonstrate greater transparency and encourage a new level of reader participation. This, and now the advert casting the multi-channel paper as a comprehensive and trustworthy source of news, attempts to illustrate the paper as ‘the good guy’, in particular contrast to the media parties currently investigated by the Leveson inquiry.

The Three Little Pigs video also serves to legitimise Social Media as an advocate of traditional media and not the enemy. Social Media has given rise to increased citizen journalism, whether it be via words, pictures or videos, broadcast on blogs, social networking sites and so on. This video seeks to bring Social Media into the fold, embracing its merit rather than resisting or fearing it. The video tries to give an idea of how Social Media can be harnessed, complimenting other forms of media, to give a ‘complete picture’ of the news.

The advert also strikes me as being remarkably similar in style to Charlie Brooker’s recent trilogy of dystopian fables, ‘Black Mirror’. It is edited in the same quick-fire way to make it fast-paced, with text over-lapping the action and voice-overs creating a series of montages to illustrate the breaking news. These Channel 4 dramas examined several 21st century themes, including Social Media, and highlighted its increasing power. In the first episode, Social Media was well and truly one step ahead of traditional media which was barred from broadcasting a ransom video which had already gone viral on the internet. Where they differ, of course, is that The Guardian video claims authority over Social Media. Also, as a side note, the fate of the pig in Brooker’s ‘Black Mirror’ is disturbingly different, but I won’t go there at this time of the morning!

Editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger says that The Guardian’s ‘open’ approach to journalism is leading the way in moving the newspaper beyond a newspaper. The alignment of ‘web, print, tablet and mobile’ at the conclusion of the advert neatly summarises the direction that the consumption of media is heading in. Check out the video below, and prepare yourself also for some serious revelations about the Three Little Pigs..!

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