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An effort to explode the superficial commerciality of 21st-century corporate infotainment news.

The news portal that is a source of stories for the interfaces proposed here is now operational. You can view it here

As the human population grows larger, social problems that would require profound, prolonged commitment to solve are hardly being covered by the most popular news format (in the US): cable news. Global warming, water shortages, disease, and concentrated ownership of the media are stories that scarcely appear, and never on a regular basis. The emergence of blogs and syndicated content, delivered via the World Wide Web, is an encouraging new venue for persistent coverage of issues that get short shrift on corporate-sponsored news programs.

This project aims to bring together the resources of syndicated "live" content with the presentation language of television. Take for example Fox Sports programs. The amount of information presented about teams and players is really astounding. Imagine if the same detail were accessed during the presentation of, say, a presidential debate. In sports television you find -- in addition to flashy three-dimensional graphics that are reminiscent of video games -- data about a team's performance on grass and artificial turf, in rain and fair weather, at home and on the road, this year and last, the current score, the scores of other games, upcoming events, etc. Video and audio from years ago are called up to demonstrate the players' past performances. While the marginal press makes connections like these in the political sphere, comparing divergent statements from a politician, for example, this happens primarily in print. The public's ability to scrutinize details -- what Chomsky calls "exotic information" -- operates in sports but not, for the majority of the population, in politics.

This work explores the graphical interface and visual language of a portal for news that has the pizazz of Fox sports and video games, but retains the persistent database of previous news items. Obviously, to realize the idea for huge audiences would require significant ongoing labor and oversight. The work is more of a prototype: a mixture of critique and demonstration, satire and proof-of-concept rolled into one. Using Java's 3D toolkit and the web browser, the work will have a widely accessible face for the public. Three distinct interface parts will also lend themselves to projection or plasma-screen display in the gallery environment. The first will adopt the language of weather news, but will treat long-developing environmental themes like privatization of water, ozone depletion, and global warming. The second will adopt a sports report style but will treat politics. A third will adopt the iconography of crime reporting in the nightly news, but will focus on corporate crime. In each case the emphasis will be drawn away from the talking head and toward the interface. Blending the look and feel of sports information design with on-line interactivity is intended to spotlight the gap between the over-covered domains -- sports, street-crime, and weather -- and the deficient reporting on topics that don't fit the feel-good, pro-corporate formulas.

The Java 3D functionality has yet to be exploited much in the browser. The demonstration programs offered by Sun Microsystems are fairly basic. Fix News would therefore explore creative applications of this technology, using it to simulate the motion graphic effects that have become a staple of television production. Some have tried to build extremely ambitious virtual worlds with the Java 3D framework. But it is the opinion of this artist that such ambitions are bound to fail with the state of the art tools. Recognizing the limits of current implementations, I would like to do some things that seem plausible, using modest 3D models and focusing on user interaction with textual and photographic content.

Especially challenging are ways to leverage the editorial contributions of the anonymous public. Without careful handling, this can descend into chaos. Yet it is worthwhile to make strides to reorient the top-down hierarchical nature of conventional news for the Web, drawing inspiration from blogs. Insofar as I am able, I would like to make the content of Fix News subject to the contributions and editorial decisions of visitors. The intention is not to produce something that is didactic, but it is not to reinvent the wheel, either. I will leverage existing blog story titles and meta-data, and siphon related videos and images that are associated with these syndicated documents.

The various syndicated stories that can be encountered through the interface will become part of a database. The majority of the creative labor that will go into this project will consist of interface design and navigating the semantics of the graphical, interactive vocabularies that are being employed.

fred's proposal for fixnews channel. 20041117

The Channel is 16/9 size. The user is loading first the ozone map and the number of users watching now. This part is composed by a typical music from TV news. If we look for the TV news generaly they start by a representation of the world but never by the ozone hole.

This could be fixnews channel aspect.

To continue with this idea to use the ozone hole, i was thinking to use directly the antartic place juste down the ozone hole like a new place to archive information. First because the ozone hole is excluding life form and because in my proposal of sitin the datas base is in the center of the circle of users online.

© Transnational Temps · Last modified Mar 11, 2005, at 12:03 PM