Aesthetic journalism is the when artistic arenas are brought into the world of politics. I have always thought, and I think that I am not alone on this one, that “the media” constitutes newspapers, television, social media, radio and you know, places from which you get the news. Lately though, the media landscape has gone through big changes, especially after the introduction of the Internet. Social media and new technology has allowed the public to enter the production of media, and this interference has forced the traditional media to rethink their old business models. We often call this citizen journalism. So “the media” today present itself in many different forms and aesthetic journalism is when the arts meets politics.
Aesthetic journalism has been around for a long time, but during the time of enlightenment creativity became acknowledged as a source of reliable knowledge (Cramerotti 2011). Johann Moritz Rugendas, for example, painted some 5000 paintings depicting nature, settlers, slaves and more that were used as factual reporting (Cramerotti 2011).
Theatre, film, festivals, art projects and fashion are all contributors to the political arena; their ideas are just generated in slightly different ways from the traditional media. Art projects might typically “curate pieces of art together to create a story” (O’Donnell 2014) aiming to promote certain feelings or associations in the public. Fashion shows are often staging their shows as a narrative, producing a statement in regards to hot topics in politics. Theatre groups take real-life stories and communicate their interpretation of it, using journalistic tools like diversity of opinion and interviews to get their stories straight. Actually, journalism is very much like the theatre in that sense.
That the media is everywhere and that news travels via many different channels is in my opinion a very good thing. People are different. We communicate in different ways, and to have many “spaces” in which to do so is a positive. Many small public spheres are different spaces where different interests can unfold and be debated. When we these different places, like theatres, art galleries and fashion shows embrace politics as part of what they do, political debate can reach a lot of people.
Creative Cities is another example of how different opinions, values, taste and communication is being enhanced. This international organization says that “culture is the oxygen of cities” in which they mean that by embracing variety and understanding what people think about their community we can build and maintain our cities in more effective ways. Here we can see politics being brought into the hands of the public to circulate ideas that will guide leaders in a democratic direction.
I do find traditional journalism to still be very necessary and perhaps ‘clearer’ in its language, but to see politics in other media as well is a refreshing and important development.
Cramerotti, A 2011, “What is Aesthetic Journalism” in Aesthetic Journalism: How to Inform Without Informing, Intellect, London.
O’Donnell, M 2014, ‘Media Spaces’, lecture, BCM310, University of Wollongong, delivered 07 April.