Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Nutshell: Thomas Weibel

Radio documentaries are the gems in the gravel of news and entertainment. The earplug culture spoils our ability to listen to the probably best radio can offer: atmosphere, sounds, and voices telling thrilling stories.

Radio makers tend to hang their head. New media kill cultural radio they say. Nothing could be more wrong. New Media provide an ocean of content, of knowledge and of social experience. They are not the danger they are said to be. In the beginning of the 20th century newspapers were said to push aside books, later radio was going to kill the papers, TV was killing radio. None of it came true. New media, I believe, are above all a huge opportunity. New forms and formats arise. One of them is the web documentary. Web docs can be based on photography, on video, or on audio. Last year's Prix Europa winner, an amazing French web doc called "À l'abri de rien" ("Nowhere Safe", www.a-l-abri-de-rien.com), is deep resarch and a piece of art at the same time, a shattering story about people living unter painfully poor conditions, told in their own words. "À l'abri de rien" is photography and, at the core, radio doc at its best.

New media are a new stage for the best storytellers there are: for radio doc makers."

Thomas Weibel, freelancer, associate professor for multimedia production, University of Applied Sciences, Chur, Switzerland

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