Media of the people, by the people, for the people

Media of the people, by the people, for the people
: The New York Times catches up with the populist explosion in media — not via weblogs but via reality TV. And they catch an interesting angle: the lowering of expectations of aesthetics and quality that come with reality TV, with a generation raised on seeing themselves on video right at home.

The technology of shooting and editing video has become so affordable and accessible that it almost seems as if anyone on the street can make a television show these days. That may be why, in the view of the auteurs, anyone on the street is making television shows these days.

“The distinction between home movies and broadcast television has all but disappeared,” said Jeffrey Tuchman, a documentary filmmaker who directed a 1992 Clinton presidential campaign film, “The Man From Hope,” and helps teach a documentary workshop at Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism.

Right. Whether it’s a one-person nanodocumentary for the web or a vlog or an ugly page like this, our standards have changed: We who now produce media on our own understand the what separates style from substance in big media and small. Anybody can be a publisher. Anybody can be a producer. Anybody can be a director. (Oddly, anybody still can’t be an author; I’m not sure why books still require real publishers and distribution — perhaps because there’s more of an investment of time in consuming them.)

One-man-band productions are tackier but thanks to the tools we have they are getting classier.

At the same time, big-time productions are getting tacker because that’s cheaper and it’s more “real.”

And we meet in the middle.