Bottoms Up: Minimalism To The Rescue of Journalism in The Days of Web 2.0

Bit of inside baseball. Technology has killed good journalism, some would say.  But there’s good news. Minimalism has finally found its way into journalism. The “minimalism” I describe here (In…

Bit of inside baseball. Technology has killed good journalism, some would say.  But there’s good news. Minimalism has finally found its way into journalism. The “minimalism” I describe here (In black) is nothing like real minimalism (In red). It is merely an attempt to classify a certain movement I have observed in the recent days. The pictures in the post are works of real minimalists from Wikipedia.Minimalism Wiki

Minimalism describes movements in various forms of art and design, especially visual art and music where the work is stripped down to its most fundamental features.

Various copies– carefully filed with the intention of merely saving the reporter’s ass and putting the reader off are examples. Minimalism in Journalism describes a movement which strives to instill a certain numbness/ plain-ness/ drabness into news. A copy is usually stripped down to the most fundamental facts. A minimalist often omits the juicy and sometimes the most important detail. Sometimes, a minimalist only gives the the most juicy and important detail.

It also involves generously and tactfully borrowing from others without crediting, scouring Twitter, Facebook and other online sources that aren’t too far from the armchair for news. It also involves quickly rehashing press releases & resorting to “he said she said” methods popular among print journalists.

As a specific movement in the arts it is identified with developments in post-World War II Western Art, most strongly with American visual arts in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

As a specific movement in Journalism it is identified with developments in Journalism– post recession (September-08 to Now). A strong uprising is presently being observed by this author among journalists in the Southern & Central parts of India. A generalization will require further research.

Minimalism Wiki 2Prominent artists associated with this movement include Donald Judd, Agnes Martin, Robert Morris and Frank Stella. It is rooted in the reductive aspects of Modernism, and is often interpreted as a reaction against Abstract Expressionism and a bridge to Postmodern art practices.

Prominent minimalists associated with this movement include many of my contemporaries. I’ve tried my hand at minimalism at times but I’m not the prime example. My minimalist works include the copies I file on particularly tiring/ de-motivating days. This particular write up is by far my best work in this genre as I have successfully reproduced one of my older copies with a few changes here & there. Don’t bother looking on Google, you won’t find it. See, its clever. But my contemporaries and veterans often beat the crap out of my work when it comes to minimalism. I’m getting there though.

Minimalism Wiki 1

The term has expanded to encompass a movement in music which features repetition and iteration.

To follow the movement, one needs to read newspapers every day. Terms like, “blast from the past” are internal jargons that often describe recycled/ stale news or stories copied from other papers, a language daily, blogs or television and are closely associated with the movement.

Minimalists who read this need not comment, it may require a “lengthy” debate which defeats the purpose of minimalism. If it angers a minimalist beyond restraint, one should possibly make do with a few short abusive phrases and leave it at that. After all, we don’t want to cripple the movement or cramp the style of a minimalist, trying to earn a living the smart way.

Read last weeks Bottoms Up: Vinod Khosla Ko Gussa Kyon Aata Hai.

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