Technogenic Disasters

Love her style of writing for one. Second, this article rocks. A must read. The excerpts below were just a few that hit the mark for me.

Technogenic Disasters: A Deadly New Normal for the Media

Jul 6, 2011 07:00 AM

Some go to school to become journalists. Others hit the road with a notebook, camera and insatiable curiosity, while others have a shocking moment of awareness of the complexity of the human condition and want to document it. I decided to enter the field when a war journalist showed me a roll of images from Kosovo. The first shot was of a man engulfed in flames to the knee. In the next shot the fire spread to his waist, then his chest. By the end of the roll, he was reduced to a charred skeleton smoking on the burnt ground.

868 journalists have been killed since 1992, which raises the question: is it worth dying to tell the story? Documenting what has already gone wrong often feels like a futile endeavor because no story can change the past. If the process of documentation costs another life, the tragedy is compounded.

If modern media reaches its potential, it can affect the manner in which the public copes with, mitigates and potentially holds industry and the government accountable for preventing various disasters. That’s a completely different proposition: a struggle with a potentially massive reward.
Understanding how technogenic disasters affect people in the short and long term requires patience and the development of simple, reliable community hubs where people input their own stories and data. Achieving this will also require greater emphasis on science communication
Not every opinion is useful, but even those contributions that seem contrary or even vitriolic might contain part of the clue that can unlock a complex story.

Disasters caused by the by-products of technology often have tentacles that reach around the world in an invisible stranglehold of consequences that are difficult to trace back to the source.

At the same time, our species is developing all kinds of new existential risks that could cause mass extinction through unintended side effects, deliberate application by a “person of malicious intent,” or a successful doomsday arms race–one that ends with complete annihilation of our species.

If modern tools are explored to their fullest, without fear of failure of conforming to an industry standard caught between two disparate eras, the media can eventually fill the role of helping to provide solutions instead of just documenting what has already gone wrong.

Each one of us has a different role to play. Some of us will spend months researching mountains of data. Some of us will contextualize that data into text, visuals, maps, videos, platforms and other mediums that should include greater levels of outreach and engagement.

The role of the great modern media is to orchestrate usefulness and order from this chaotic process and help us more clearly see how we can shape our own future, together, before we miss our chance.
About the Author:  Rita J. King is the EVP of Business Development at Science House, the Generalissima of the Imagination Age, Founder and Creative Director of Dancing Ink Productions and lover of the infinite cosmos.




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