Who knew the fallout from Tiger Woods driving his car into a fire hydrant could be so far-reaching. The least surprising outcome from last month’s debacle is perhaps that sponsors are reconsidering their support — Shep Smith noted yesterday that perhaps husbands and wives will be reconsidering presents with the Tiger endorsement on it this Christmas. One of the most surprising things — other than the fact such a small incident has turned into such a large one — is how it may be changing the way we get our news. Literally.
By this point, if you spend any time on the Internet, you have likely seen the Tiger Woods CGI animated news videos coming out of Hong Kong, which reenact the alleged events of Tigergate (how come no one has given it this label yet? He almost literally hit a gate.).
A week or so ago the New York Times expressed concern that these “maybe journalism” videos signaled the end of news as we know it: “a best guess at the news as it might well have been, rendered as a video game and built on a bed of pure surmise.” Which seems like a fair description, though it takes all the fun out of it.
Now Gordon Crovitz at the Wall St. Journal is speculating that the media legacy of Tiger Woods may be the “the animated news report”:
This may or may not be what actually happened, but one lesson of technology applied to information is that every medium finds its ultimate conclusion, from talk radio to reality television. In the case of online video, animated “news” will fill the gap where there is no actual video. Journalistic traditionalists tut-tut; animations are not re-enactments so much as a potential version of the news.
The key problem, as mentioned, is what is being depicted may or may not have actually happened and if a picture is worth a thousand words, than in our increasingly online video dependent media culture it’s hard to measure the real impact of these “reenactments.” Could Tiger Woods sue for defamation? I have no idea, but I imagine if this medium in fact does become the future of news we are going to discover rather quickly the limits of “maybe journalism.” In the meantime, enjoy away.
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