At the American Pavilion in Cannes yesterday, there was a debate entitled Buzz Builders which dealt with movie journalism and the internet.
Alex Ben Block moderated a panel that included:
- Mike Jones of Variety
- Alison Willmore of IFC.com
- Eugene Hernandez from Indiewire
- David Poland of Movie City News (via Skype video link)
Here are a few key bits as relayed by Jeffrey Wells of Hollywood Elsewhere:
Poland said that the difference between print and online film writing is a “lack of editing” and seasoned judgment.
Both Hernandez and Jones mentioned the importance of judgment and “context” in the reporting of news stories.
Poland said later that an online hurdle thus far is that “there’s no money” in blogging for many if not most writers who toil in this medium. Or at least, “not enough to live on.”
And yet “having a seat at the table” is what everyone wants, he said, including the N.Y. Times.
But the bit that really struck me was when he quotes David Poland as saying:
….he “would be very surprised if The Hollywood Reporter is still [around] three years from now.” (I think he meant in its present form, but maybe not.)
Is this true?
Let’s for a second assume this isn’t a throwaway line about a traditional media outlet not adapting to the times.
On a more pressing point, why don’t the American Pavilion or the organisers of the debate film this and put it up on the web? Why no live stream? Or YouTube video? Or some kind of transcript?
What is sometimes depressing – and indeed ironic – about these kinds of debate is that they suffer from the very problems they are discussing.
At a talk last year at the London Film Festival about the internet and film criticism, the moderator mused at one point that maybe the panel (which consisted of two national newspaper critics, plus two heads of content from MySpace and the BBC) should have included a blogger, as that’s what they were partly discussing.
Similarly here, with all the chat about the merits of blogger vs traditional media, we should be reminded that if it wasn’t for the efforts of Hollywood Elsewhere and a link from Spout Blog, then anyone outside of the American Pavilion probably wouldn’t know about this.
If the issues are important enough to debate at one of the key venues of the world’s biggest film festival, then why not disseminate it to the wider world via the web?