Monday, April 23, 2012

Comics Journalism Breaks New Ground With Digital Media


Join leading digital media innovators from the arts, business, education, and non-profits and explore some of the most important and influential work being done in new media today at the 2012 Woodstock Digital Media Festival, June 22-23, in Woodstock, Vermont. 

WOODSTOCK, VT - The written word. Photography. Audio. Video footage. These are the tools we commonly associate with news journalism. But with today’s explosion in digital news media, a unique and surprising method of conveying stories is taking hold:

Comics. 

A new breed of artist-journalists are finding their voices in comics journalism, moving beyond the single-panel editorial cartoon to use drawn comics as a way to delve more deeply into stories. With their rich, hand-crafted feel and depth, comics provide a way to compete for shrinking attention spans, and to cut through the information overload that comes with trying to stay current in a complex world.

One such voice belongs to Dan Archer of Archcomix.com. Archer will be speaking at the upcoming Woodstock Digital Media Festival on June 22 and 23 in Woodstock, Vermont.

A graduate of the Center for Cartoon Studies, Archer creates non-fictional, journalistic comics that present a new perspective on a range of human rights and social justice issues, giving voice to stories that wouldn’t otherwise be heard. He’ll participate in the Festival’s panel on “Telling [True] Stories,” to be held Saturday, June 23, from 11 a.m. - 12 p.m. at the Woodstock Inn.

 As a comic journalist, Archer embraces the seeming contradiction between the subjective nature of drawing and the objectivity required in journalism. “Journalistic comics explicitly acknowledge the fact that news reporting can never be completely objective. By embracing the author’s style, as well as his or her artistic and editorial choices, these comics expose the lack of objectivity in all news reporting.”

Archer says that journalistic comics have the ability to convey more information, as well as to better highlight the “dissonances” that exist within any given topic, and our exploration of that topic.

“A comics news story acts as a window into a subject. It does more than scratch the surface of a topic. Instead of falling back on rhetoric, these comics actually aim to inform—dare I say educatethe reader.”

Archer says he’s excited to return to the Upper Valley, to reconnect with friends and colleagues at the Center for Cartoon Studies (cartoonstudies.org) in White River Junction. Beyond that, he says, the Woodstock Digital Media Festival offers a special opportunity. “Cartoonists, journalists and people in technology tend to stay somewhat isolated in their spheres. I see this a chance for people with common interests—sharing news stories in unique, attention-getting ways—to come together and talk about commonalities.”

The Woodstock Digital Media Festival opens to the public on Friday evening, June 22, with a free Exhibition Opening from 8:30-10:30 p.m. at the Artistree Gallery in Woodstock. On Saturday, June 23, outdoor digital “explorations” and informational sessions like Archer’s “Telling TRUE Stories,” are free and open to the public.  Saturday evening’s reception and presentation is a ticketed event from 8:00-11:00 p.m. at the Billings Farm and Museum.

For more information on the Festival and to register, visit WoodstockDigital.com
Find Dan Archer on Facebook, Twitter, or check out his monthly newsletter.

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The Woodstock Digital Media Festival is a forum and exhibition held each summer in Woodstock, Vermont, where leading digital artists, businesses and educators present their work and interact with their peers as well as with the general public. The Festival combines a beautiful, natural setting with a completely wired town center to create a fantastic “digital campus” offering lively talks, unique outdoor explorations, and ongoing exhibitions of digital art and innovations. For more information on the Festival and to register, visit WoodstockDigital.com.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Cowbird Helps Storytellers and Photographers Spread Their Wings


Join leading digital media innovators from the arts, business, education, and non-profits and explore some of the most important and influential work being done in new media today at the 2012 Woodstock Digital Media Festival, June 22-23, in Woodstock, Vermont. 

WOODSTOCK, VT - Storytellers and photographers around the world are finding a digital home – a place to tell stories and share photography documenting their lives and the lives of others who aren’t normally heard from, especially in digital media. That home is Cowbird, and its Community Manager, Annie Correal, will be one of the presenters at the Woodstock Digital Media Festival to be held June 22 and 23 in Woodstock, Vermont.

“Cowbird.com is a constantly evolving library of human experience, completely created by the authors,” says Correal. “It’s a tool for people to create records of their experiences.”

Cowbird’s 11,000-plus participants, from 150 different countries to date, use the site to document stories and photographs in a way that was once reserved for photojournalists and anthropologists. Cowbird was founded and created by Jonathan Harris, who was raised partly in Shelburne and considers Vermont his home state. 


As of this interview, 55 Vermonters have contributed 290 stories – numbers that will certainly continue to grow. One Vermonter putting Cowbird to frequent use is Geoffrey Gevalt, an educator who takes advantage of Cowbird’s digital format to publish text, audio and photos. Gevalt has created pieces documenting the reminiscences of elders, his work with young Vermont writers, and even a series on the process of making maple syrup. 
  
At the Woodstock Digital Media Festival, Correal will showcase the work of Gevault and other storytellers on Cowbird. She encourages all who have an interest in sharing or collaborating on storytelling to attend her panel, “Telling [True] Stories,” Saturday, June 23, from 11 a.m. - 12 p.m. at the Woodstock Inn.

“Cowbird wants to foster an experience that’s not just about sitting behind your computer all day, but provides an impetus to go out and create stories that interest people,” says Correal. “The site provides a way to connect with your immediate community, to find others who are interested in the same types of things you are. Online relationships can turn into relationships in the real world.” 

The Woodstock Digital Media Festival opens to the public on Friday evening, June 22, with a free Exhibition Opening from 8:30-10:30 p.m. at the Artistree Gallery in Woodstock. On Saturday, June 23, outdoor digital “explorations” and informational sessions like Correal’s “Telling TRUE Stories,” are all free and open to the public. Saturday evening’s reception and presentation is a ticketed event from 8:00-11:00 p.m. at the Billings Farm and Museum.

Storytellers can request invites to Cowbird in advance of the Festival here: http://www.cowbird.com/request-invite/.

For more information on the Festival and to register, visit WoodstockDigital.com.

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The Woodstock Digital Media Festival is a forum and exhibition held each summer in Woodstock, Vermont, where leading digital artists, businesses and educators present their work and interact with their peers as well as with the general public. The Festival combines a beautiful, natural setting with a completely wired town center to create a fantastic “digital campus” offering lively talks, unique outdoor explorations, and ongoing exhibitions of digital art and innovations. For more information on the Festival and to register, visit WoodstockDigital.com.