A Reflection on the First #MediaLit Course

“Have you ever wondered how the media works, or watched a TV programme and asked yourself what values underpin it? Ever pondered the ethics of media production and consumption?  Is there a theology of communication? How might the church engage with and support those who work in the media? Ever thought about how the national church engages with the media? How do church press offices work? Could your local church engage more effectively with the media? What might the digital future look like? How might social networking develop? Today Twitter and FaceBook,  tomorrow…?

MediaLit gave the opportunity to explore all these issues and more. Based in the wonderful setting of St John’s College, Durham,  MediaLit was a week long, intensive course – both hands on and theoretical – which brought together media practitioners, journalists, the Churches Media Council, those exploring how to use social media in relation to Christian faith, trainee ministers, vicars and other interested parties.”

Read the full reflection by Kate Bruce and indicate your interest in future MediaLit courses. Find Kate on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/johnschaplain

Bex’s Bio for @bigbible

In my third day working for CODEC, I ensured that my bio was available on the CODEC site, so here’s my new role for St John’s College, University of Durham:

  • Bex Lewis  – Email ; Twitter ; Blog
  • Blended Learning Project Manager, ‘The Big Read 2011’

Bex has a background in history, completing her PhD in ‘British Home Front Propaganda Posters of the Second World War’in 2004 at the University of Winchester, where she’d done her first degree in History with Education Studies. Bex built her first website in 1997, has built many more, and has undertaken accessibility and usability projects. She, however, is more interested in people/ communication/ popular culture than programming, and therefore was delighted when social media took off, and she is the Director of ‘Digital Fingerprint’, a social media consultancy.

As well as a ‘digital resident’, Bex is a polymath – she is the social media consultant for ‘Super Fun Days Out’, and has promoted interdisciplinary research, undertaken the LICC Toolbox course, and written for Damaris Culturewatch. After 7 months travelling around the world (Asia, Australasia, South America), she worked a summer season as a Tour Leader with Oak Hall Expeditions in 2008. She continues to work at the University of Winchester, as a ‘Blended Learning Fellow’ (finding tools for teaching using an appropriate mix of technology and face-to-face) with Associate Lectureships in Media Studies (particularly digital literacy) and History, alongside funded projects in student-skills and change management.

Bex is working for CODEC for 50% of her time throughout the 2010/11 academic year to develop ‘The Big Read’ on from its successful launch in the North-East over Lent 2010. The project will look to use the best mix of tools from the online and the offline worlds to encourage more engagement with the Bible, and draws upon Tom Wright’s forthcoming book ‘Matthew for Lent’. The project is supported by The Methodist Church, Premier Radio and SPCK, and Bex can generally be found at the Premier Radio offices in Pimlico Tuesday/Wednesday.

Join the project on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/bigbible.

Guest Post on @thechurchmouse #medialit

“A few days ago Pete Phillips from CODEC guest blogged on the Church and Media Network Conference, and mentioned an upcoming course organised by CODEC and the Church and Media Network, called as MediaLit.  The course describes itself as “an opportunity for first class training and resources in media for ministry for those engaged in formal pre-ordination training, those already engaged in local or national ministry and anyone concerned to connect Christian faith with communication in a digital age. ”

MediaLit has now taken place, and Mouse wanted to bring it to your attention.  Below is a guest post from Dr Bex Lewis on what it was all about.  Bex has a PhD in Second World War posters (http://ww2poster.co.uk), teaches History & Media Studies, whilst working on Blended Learning projects for the Universities of Winchester & Durham.”

Read the full post here.

Review of #medialit

Key Learning Points & Actions

  • Should be important for all to take this, media is so central to our society.
  • Is it OK for all to have wi-fi when many still don’t have water?
  • If you can’t do something really well it’s better not to bother or pay others? If all that means is that noticeboard is smart, etc. and is all can manage, then go with that.
  • Given more confidence to use technology, especially new media.
  • Use simpler new media more effectively – use good values. Make own material that like – not just moan about Rob Bell, but make better.
  • Is it my fault that in The Times that Christians look stupid – so stop blaming the media & engage with existing, and stand up for own thoughts.
  • So many thoughts. Difficult to stay up to date & be savvy, and how naïve we are with broadcast radio/tv media. Would be good to have refreshers to keep people engaged. Need to step back from the computer screen & think what is this really showing/doing – the right tools!!
  • There’s a role for lots of people in our congregations, particularly those who find it difficult to get involved in other areas.  What can others bring to it.
  • Fun, creative & gets juices going. Much of the Church fairly joyless & hard work – how get some of this excitement across to congregations.
  • Preaching, etc.? What connects everyone in this room? Creativity – given by God. Whatever use of media (or any other role in the world) – do it well. Take more risks, leave space to fail!
  • So much creativity in the Christian community…  Politics of the Church tends to lock a lot of that down – so how do we find ways of releasing that?
  • The media is not the Messiah or the Devil.
  • Find different platforms for your own creativity.  All try – at least we’re going somewhere.

David Wilkinson

  • Take more risks…
  • Be honest about failure – breed confidence by honesty! When we get things wrong admit it & don’t try and involve the Holy Spirit as a justification!
  • Find a network of people you can trust & work with on collaborative projects.
  • Theology – so easy to get drawn into the mode of communication, and forget the theological basis for what you’re trying to achieve. Theological support or constraint you might have.  Remember the WHY and the HOW through a theological lens. Paul – justification for missionary movement moving on out..
  • Bringing together media professionals & theologians v. important.
  • What kind of support/encouragement, etc. are you going to offer to those e.g. making radio programmes on Sunday morning – and what are you going to learn from them. Theology & technology – keep it together.
  • God is much bigger than our laptops & there are more questions that just how we interact with media. Every initiative needs to be critiqued through issue of justice. Work out strategically what’s important – accept compromises/balance, but keep asking questions.
  • New Media – give access to information, etc. for both developed/developing nations. Africa – never be cabled, but mobile phone – making a huge difference!  What could you do that would serve the local community where you are? E.g. buying Wii for Friday night clubs, etc.
  • Do we need to take this on the road as a 2-3 day course? Can we identify those who are passionate and can lead this?  General congregation can get involved, but identify those with particular passions.
  • http://www.ed.ac.uk/schools-departments/divinity/research/projects/media-theology ?
  • How do we see God involved in this? Is media a gift (community, communication, being fully human in community)? Can be a gift that can be corrupted by us so need theological understanding. Similar questions between science/faith – until see science as a gift can’t deal with it theologically.
  • In our richness, how do we share in a way that isn’t patronising, but is liberating. JUSTICE issues… Divide between those who have access to free information, and those who  only have access to advertised information.

The Church and Media Network

  • http://churchmedia.moonfruit.com/
  • Media understand Christians better
  • Help Christians understand the media better
  • Support Christians working in the media (http://www.themedianet.org/)
  • Pray for those working in the media?  If you hear them, pray for them – let them know you’re praying for them..

Questions

  • Individualism vs community nature of the gospel
  • Christian media vs Christians working in the media (Just say yes if asked to contribute. Sucks the talent out, and takes an “out” for mainstream media as “they have their own space” – mainstream – have to be GREAT to get it out there – so we should aim to be good enough to get on BBC1, rather than putting it on own channel; what about e.g. getting Delirious in the charts, what about e.g. Athlete – band happen to be Christians, but they’re not KNOWN as that. MAKE good TV (not  necessarily “Christian” TV) – maybe you’ll get asked further questions, maybe you won’t.  Do we have to know, do people have to wear a label?
  • How support those who we want to take on roles in the congregation – not “oh, the vicar does it”.  Digitally enabled laity (those who are keen to use, enable them)
  • Where to start in applying it. What are they ALREADY communicating through notice board/their physical presence, the people in it, etc..

You are the light of the world, not you might be.

Use the right TOOL for the job.

New Media vs Old Media – midweek that seemed to be the way… now that divide also seems not to be there…  Don’t be AFRAID, just experiment, take risks, think about the MESSAGE that you have.  Sharing and more COLLABORATIVE seems to be more of the mood that’s coming out..

http://www.dur.ac.uk/codec/about/

Ethics in the Media? #medialit

Who’s telling the truth? (Jeremy Paxman, The West Wing, Have I Got News for You)

Ethical: Truth, privacy, exploitations, taste, popularity, fairness, hurt?

Is anyone concerned about ethics? 2 years ago lots of ethical debates, started with Richard & Judy (You Say We Pay) – viewers phone calls, but no one past first 10 minutes. Most of these programmes make their money from phone calls. Set off a big hoo-ha…  and http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/6449919.stm

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-467754/Leibowitz-The-Queen-I-did-fall-BBC-tantrum-film.html – re-editing – changed the story (even though it wasn’t broadcast). Unleashed self-examination – with multiple scandals.

  • These edits must happen all the time, so why does it matter that it’s the Queen.
  • E.g. the whole of Big Brother – it tells the story you want..
  • Is it all mis-representation – e.g. Songs of Praise Easter Service filmed at Christmas?
  • Is it the celebration or the mediation?
  • Does it need e.g. “30 women in our survey”, do we need to sacrifice some entertainment for honesty?
  • Are we talking about levels of honesty?
  • Emma Watson’s boobs get bigger in the IMAX version of Harry Potter – is this any different from other models? Is the first image “real”? What assumptions are there about values about e.g. what makes people feel attractive, etc?
  • http://www.ohiohistory.org/capture/1971.html ; http://www.cs.dartmouth.edu/farid/research/digitaltampering/kentstate1+2.jpg . I f take own photos try and take appropriately – so this is just like post-editing. Has it changed the meaning? Photo happened to catch a moment – so wasn’t set up? So does removing a fencepost from the image matter? What happens if we say one of the arguments is that students were unable to escape from the gunfire – the removal of the fencepost becomes significant?
  • http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2005/apr/12/election2005.uk1 – image doctored and used on the electoral leaflet. Hadn’t asked Anne Widdecome’s permission – and she was mad.
  • The Sun published a picture of Great White Shark (from Africa) – http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article2182715.ece; http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/article251024.ece – went national, who would check, and damages the tourist industry. Why did they publish if not tree – because it will sell newspapers.
  • Is it OK that we see The Sun as entertainment, it doesn’t matter?!
  • Churches are not immune, what kind of stories do we put forward?

If you’re a news editor – what would you do if this story landed on your desk?

  • http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/tv/news/a12172/contestants-to-sue-sky-over-transvestite-show.html Are there people who are easily exploited? Values are coming from “don’t expect the media to be ethical”. What do we say about others who are being hounded by the media – is it problematic? The audience are complicit in exploitation.
  • BNP included in local TV (material being produced nationally although includes local stories).  Issues of freedom of speech? Basis as a local channel. Did they stop producing the tapes? Open access community channel – would monitor more closely? Where is the dividing line?  Can’t show illegal but CAN be offensive.. e.g. local sermons can be offensive to some. Similar story: http://www.premiercommunity.org.uk/forum/topics/revelation-tv-debate-nick
  • http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/6676345.stm This story? It’s right to deceive in who they are to get ‘the truth’.  There are legally appointed bodies that could deal with this – e.g. Trading Standards – so why did the BBC not work with them?! Is the question different (can you break the law to find a story “in the public interest”) for journalists than others? Journalists may lose their lives in pursuing “the truth”.
  • Footballer, convicted of fraud, commits suicide in front of the group/cameras, etc. 30 minutes to air – would you air the story – with what audio/video. Convention  is that we don’t show the moment of death, but it isn’t illegal. At what point do you cut the pictures or the sound? Usually using a reporter on sight – he’s just seen a man commit suicide – is he going to be calm? Pastoral issues for the staff…  Why so many journalists are harsh – asking them to make sensitive decisions. Talking local press..
  • http://tweetphoto.com/29015976. Thought wouldn’t mention that she’d died – tell story by omission until knew more about the hostage situation – would ask for exclusive from the Police. What about other media (TV/radio/internet) likely to run the story – where does that leave you?  “Our job is to tell the truth, and to tell something as fully as you can” – if divert – on a slippery slope…

Are there still good news stories in the papers, etc? Journalists are SO lazy it tends to get in…

When researcher asks you to sign a contract, it’s a “blood chit”.

How naïve are we?! Does Christianity inform us – we can’t agree, so what about journalists, many of whom have no Christian value. However have high values on ‘truth’ & entertainment!

The Church of England #medialit

Interesting session on communications in the national church

What is the Church of England?”: “A Christian presence in every community”.

What is the CofE today?

Video created (no sound, add your own) explaining what the CofE is:

and interested in developing this.

The organisation is professional , proactive, integrated, and mission-orientated

Communications Strategy

External context scanning – communicate externally.  (EPISTLE)

  • Economic
  • Political
  • Informational
  • Social
  • Technological
  • Legal
  • Environmental

Once understand the issues that people are dealing with, can communicate more effectively.

The group had a discussion about what was the SWOT for the Church of England, and therefore how can it engage best?

6-7  million go to church regularly in the UK, of which 1 million CofE.

Website (Audience)

There’s both an internal (staff & regular churchgoers) and an external audience (including those looking for weddings/funerals, non-churchgoers and the press).  A very diverse audience, so it’s unlikely that people will agree with all.

Internally:

Digital Engagement is key…  It used to be an extra optional layer, now it’s key, particularly for the external audience:

Most of these projects started small in a single church, and then the momentum grows – it’s not about picking big projects.

The group discussed a great project with regards to encouraging people to have ‘staycations’ and engage with the local community.

Andrew Whiteley, former BBC Producer, God Channel/UCB #medialit

Talking specifically about the use of Christian media.

Funding? Very expensive business…

  • Licence fees?
  • Charitable appeals & broadcasters.
  • Sky – 15 TV channels, 10 radio channels, promoting Christian media – more sophisticated – is big money
  • Caveat – I am not a huge fan of Christian only TV – think we need those skills in mainstream media, although with so many niche channels, I think there’s a place for these channels, but PLEASE don’t suck all the skilled Christians into a Christian-media-bubble-niche – those who watch those kind of TV – already “preaching to the converted”! I have also seen a number of people who watch only e.g. The God Channel and consume it uncritically – TV is produced by humans, and we need to critique as much as with everything else.
  • Advertising is key – have some mainstream audience, can be very targeted – especially with e.g. Spotify : http://www.spotify.com/uk ; webmail providers (browser history). Because of the internet – lots of media is converging – newspapers are only just getting involved with it. Masthead sponsorship have to watch before get to content.
  • Having to identify new funding models…
    • Development of hi-speed broadband = worst nightmare.
    • Are so many options for video – doesn’t take much to get the lighting right/2 cameras not 2 – so look to make a decent video rather than slapping it up! There’s many novelists, but there’s only  one JK Rowling – put the effort in.
    • Games – big pressure on independents
    • God TV was ahead of the game…

Compression on TV through digital (including HD, clear on analogue TV) means, especially if move too fast, difficult to see.

  • Labour intensive & expensive to film
  • Satellite time & transponding – even MORE expensive!
  • How do channels such The God Channel  survive in there?
    • Most Christian TV channels have ‘help fund us’ run across the base of programmes – helps  confirm the idea that most Christians are money-grubbing.
    • Yes, ‘http://www.god.tv/live the first thing that draws your eye is “Donate Now’ on a big red area…
    • Lots of rules regulate what is on TV. Overseas can get away with doing certain things, not covered by the same rules.
    • God TV – “anti” what The God Channel is doing…
      • Common tactic – need money to keep them on air… etc
      • We’re saying that God is a provider so why are we asking for money?
      • It wouldn’t happen if it didn’t work. The problem Andrew sees is the implication that if you GIVE God will bless you…
      • Need to accept that TV costs money (especially TV) and may have to ask for money, but ask honestly. Once can do it on the internet – take out satellite costs & that will help. S
      • Define a Christian Documentary. Tod Bentley & Lakeland business.  Likes http://www.stevehill.org/
      • Good news stories?
      • Positive news stories?
      • Some invest time/money  into producing their own content, etc.
      • What about e.g. Billy Graham always pointed people to local churches.
      • Here, UCB are the good guys – they will refer you to useful sources.

Most start in TV not to make money…

So what is an HONORABLE way to raise money for Christian TV? E.g. Church partnerships?

So SHOULD we even have Christian TV?

One of the impacts of American model – OFCOM has found there are certain things they can’t regulate as people will find other ways round them. So it’s becoming increasingly liberal, otherwise closing doors after horses have bolted! http://www.ofcom.org.uk/tv/ifi/codes/bcode/religion/

Some secular funding comes because they think there’s some interesting stories in there…

Is the brand the product or is the packaging?

What are we trying to “sell” and should the label/what’s inside in the tin match? Are we ‘selling’ – what words should we use? How do you see the word ‘sell’ – maybe you’re giving people something they want… at a cost (to someone)?

How can we be enterprising at our level? Seek God first and pray…

Local Church Comms @RevArun #medialit

Arun Arora: Local Comms (used to work for Archbishop John Sentamu)

How do you get a story out when you know what you want to say?

  • God’s Rule
    • The media is something that can be redeemed by God’s Kingdom.
    • Traditionally in the church – relations with the media have been rocky, especially because the church can be quite anti “the media”.
      • OK if it’s The Times or The Telegraph, etc. but what about The Sun?!
  • Redeeming stories
  • Fear Stories
    • http://www.flickr.com/photos/textlad/2252631472/
    • A Word on Digital Media
      • “Digital is not all it’s cracked up to be. I’m sick of seeing all this hi-def, hi-hi, super-hi… It just seems to be a trend. In reality we all want analogue experiences.” Kylie Minogue. Times 19/06/10.
        • There’s a relationship between “old” and “new” media – Twitter only works because you can link to greater understanding.
        • E.g. The Beatitudes – bit like Twitter without the bigger understanding.
        • “Which Media Do You Trust”. Photo (2 years ago) by The Newspaper Society
        • 80.4% of British adults read a regional newspaper, rather than 61% who read a national newspaper – are these figures out of date?
  • New Media: The Power of Localism.  Clay Shirky “Here Comes Everybody”.
  • The Potential & The Fear
  • News-What is It?
    • Is it everything? Do people want to read about cereal?
    • Something that’s new?
    • Something unusual?
    • Not defined by the audience?
    • 5 categories
      • Events (something happens, e.g. 9/11) – in big stories may be all we hear about = “hard news”
      • Response (e.g. “The Today Programme”) – respond on behalf of community to what was hard news earlier (e.g. Cumbria shootings)
      • Piggy Back (commenting on comments, responding to response, especially fills a “slow news day”) – in many ways this is what we understand by blogs.
      • Calendar (specific known events)
      • Image (1972 – http://coffeeforclosers.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/napalm20girl.jpg – can’t see what has been cropped out of the image – other photographers & other soldiers)
  • So, if you want to get in the press – you need to fit in one of these criteria – the often is in the Response/Piggy Back category.
  • The role of the church as part of the event – e.g. repatriation of bodies, violent deaths, etc..
  • Editorials – don’t tend to make news… occasionally it may become an event.
  • Spot the Odd One Out
  • Interesting response:
  • Within full nuances, complex, hour’s lecture – it makes sense, but who actually reads the whole story…
  • C of E = a voluntary organisation, not a company. Term “Broad Church” comes from here. So can say “Don’t talk to Press without talking to your Comms Office”, but doesn’t work that way – but each vicar needs to think “does this empower the Kingdom”.
  • Assumption that this story is a bad thing… just because it got hot… Get 2 lots of coverage by putting out a statement & then the retraction.
  • A Priestly Parable?
    • What can we learn from Fr Tim Jones?
      • Possible to use media effectively in highlighting issues of faith –esp prophetic
      • Good relationships can/do exist – usually in the form of individuals continuing relationship
      • The adrenaline of ’15 minutes’ in 24/7 media world can be addictive (the first story was good, the 2nd a mistake)
      • Not all publicity is good publicity.
    • A Priestly Parable?
      • What can we learn from Fr Tim Jones?
        • Possible to use media effectively in highlighting issues of faith –esp prophetic
        • Good relationships can/do exist – usually in the form of individuals continuing relationship
        • The adrenaline of ’15 minutes’ in 24/7 media world can be addictive (the first story was good, the 2nd a mistake): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Airways_cross_controversy – pushed story too far, lost, now legally binding on all.
        • Not all publicity is good publicity.
          • AB John Sentamu – prayed through all stories, was seen as key. Secret to strong leadership – being led by the Holy Spirit & discerning through prayer.
    • What Would Hosea Do? http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=HOsea%201&version=NIV
    • http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=HOsea%201&version=NIV
      • How would you advise the prophet Hosea to use the media to proclaim his message?
        • The Sun or a gossip magazine could pick it up. But would this be positive?  Draw out the human story. Good news story – moving from prostitution to home?
      • What are the main issues that you face in getting across this message?
        • “God said to me…”
        • Not in CONTROL of exactly how the message will be portrayed – newspapers likely to promote negative image.
        • It’s NOT happened yet.
          • FACED
            • Culture – Theocracy v liberal democracy
            • Authority – God? Which? Whose?
            • Association – “God told me to do it”
            • Authenticity – Stunt v. Prophetic Act? (people are so CYNICAL)
            • People don’t buy into “God told me”, but if you say “it’s my story/it’s my faith” it works.
      • Think of a modern day Prophetic Act that media would cover positively.
        • Tony Campolo (lost the detail here)
      • Application
        • Be culturally relevant – know your pitch and know your audience. (Those who critique the church for reducing self to soundbites, need to see that Jesus often did this).
        • Authority – wide appeal
        • Association – nothing new under the sun. Dog bits man, man bits dog. (Understand the news values that operate)
        • Authenticity & Proclamations? As against Paul 1 Cor 19.22
        • NEVER be afraid to say I’ll ring you back (having taken the questions) – but do ring them back quickly!

Prayer Session #medialit

The groups divided into 3 tables, with around 4-5 papers per table. The prompts below were divided amongst the tables. Delegates were asked to return to the newspaper(s) and look for a story which fits the prompt: interpretation of the prompt is up to you; feel free to discuss; decide how you pray about it. After praying stories are posted on the wall for all groups to see.

  • “How many are your works, O Lord! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. There is the sea, vast and spacious, teeming with creatures beyond number-living things both large and small. (Psalm 104:24-25)
  • John 17:15: My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one
  • A story to do with “Social Media” (positive or negative)
  • A story that relates to Social Activism (positive or negative)
  • A positive message to take from a story that is presented negatively
  • An “ending”
  • A “beginning”
  • A ‘global’ story
  • Mark 14:38: Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”
  • A ‘local’ story
  • For a story of ‘hope’
  • Evidence of God’s blessing
  • A situation that looks as though it is ‘beyond hope’
  • Matthew 5:44: But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you
  • Find an image that really ‘speaks’
  • A story that relates to a friend
  • Numbers 25:12: Therefore tell him I am making my covenant of peace with him.
  • A date in history that has modern day resonance
  • A story related to “being creative”
  • Genesis 4:9: Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” “I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”
  • A story of community
  • A story of healing
  • A story of inclusion
  • A story of exclusion
  • A story of “religion”
  • An image of “hope”

Breaking News, Kate Bruce (@johnschaplain), #medialit

1991 – fell in love with Gregory Peck in To Kill a Mockingbird.

  • Wise, thoughtful, courageous, etc. as Atticus Finch: “”You never understand a person until you consider things from his point of view until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.””
    • Old Media: Understand the skin that those using new media are in..
    • New Media: Be more open to those who are in a different world
  • What does life right now look like from the perspective of a Louisiana fisherman, etc.?  Maybe we can never really know. May have to undertake an ‘imaginative exercise’ which puts you in their shoes.
  • Whose news is it anyway?
    • What’s on the front page of the paper doesn’t necessarily have to form the front page of the church agenda.
    • Do we use national/local news as the focus (sometimes)? Does preaching help the congregation understand the news differently?
    • 16% say yes, isn’t that a shockingly low number?
  • What are the pastoral and prophetic modes of preaching?
    • Pastoral preaching – around empathy/arouse compassion;  a resonation with life experience for the hearer. See God in a situation, cry out in lament/not tidy & closed down as have to join in the pain where God doesn’t seem obvious – return to hope in God on the basis of past faithfulness.
    • Where does the power lie in this preaching? Who has been left nameless – Prophetic preaching, takes risks as it looks to uncover that.
  • Key features of the imagination.
    • Re-creative
    • Inventive (Story-telling relies on a vicarious retelling of other’s experiences. E.g. May have no experience of redundancy after a lifetime in the steelworks – would be patronising to say that you did understand, but can imagine – how far?)
    • Speculative (Intentional alternative – either/or; not an optional extra for ‘arty types’ – shape the content, otherwise naïve platitudes… )
    • Transformative
    • Preaching without imagination is just dull & they should be shot! Otherwise is less evocative, otherwise the hearers are left with “so what” questions?
  • In what sense id preaching imaginative vocation?
    • Rummage in the experience we’re talking about, find the living/breathing text that we’re talking into – from both texts (news story, congregation, Bible)
    • Pray, study & discuss – do we put as much effort into trying to “sit inside” news stories as we do inside the Biblical text? It’s in the interplay that the meaning comes alive. Preacher’s job is to “arc the spark” – otherwise reductionist/closed, church-to-church. Should be dramatic, artistic, open, daring & liberated! Have a life after the sermon – provoke conscience, etc.
  • What can we learn from Atticus and Ignatius in terms of how preaching might deal with news imaginatively?b
    • Atticus stepping into people’s lives, and Ignatius into the Gospels.
    • Read in different accounts, reading editorials, understanding the surrounding.
    • What’s the link between the 2, and where is God in this situation, or is there a sense of God’s absence?
    • [Cockermouth – heard stories, family connection, reflected on who’s where]
    • See themes start to draw out that you can start to see the links to the Bible
    • Is this traditional teaching/preaching?
    • What about not starting from the Lexionary, but from a news story which inspires a sermon?
      • The difficult descriptions – do we run away from them?
      • How do we join with secular agencies to bring hope to e.g. Niger?
    • Imagine, pray and act!
    • Is this problematic, starting in the scriptures & not leaving – so how does that speak to us. Why are people not starting from news/film, etc.
      • Is God revealed in the world at all?
      • What about the situations in which God’s absence is palpable?
      • Shouldn’t we always begin with the scriptures because God is uniquely revealed here? Are the questions that we ask the scriptures limiting the Biblical text, but that assumes that God isn’t with us as we work for him.  Are the Scriptures sitting hermetically sealed until we open them – living words that God can use.
        • “Bible in one hand and newspaper in the other” – is that possible? Indicates that the news can be seen through a Biblical lens, etc.
        • Be careful about what we label as grace…  Lament – name pain, etc. in the world.
  • What are the objections to this approach to preaching?
    • What is the starting point for preaching, does it indicate that it’s last minute?
    • Different ‘learning styles’ (different media)..  we learn different ways.. : http://drbexl.co.uk/tag/personality-type/
    • Every day, 140 character sermon on the day’s news! Takes the triteness out of you, as you’re essentially announcing it…

Christians on TV (Andrew Graystone) #medialit

  • General
    • Vicar of Dibley
    • Songs of Praise
    • Eastenders
    • Big Brother Contestants
    • Father Ted
    • Ned Flanders
    • Rev. Lovejoy
    • Emmerdale – Ashley Thomas
    • Pentecost Service (Chris Moyles: http://www.eauk.org/fnt/chris-moyles-talks-up-church.cfm) All the things he was expecting to Christians to be – was better – happy, enjoying, good music…)
    • The Manchester Passion (3 years ago)
    • The Liverpool Nativity (2 years ago)
    • The God Channel & that kind of TV
    • Peter Owen-Jones
    • Dermot McCullough
    • C4: The Bible in 8 Parts
    • What do we look like?
      • Sex scandals in the Roman Church
      • Ned Flanders
      • Traditional Songs of Praise
      • Vicar of Soham, Cumbria
      • Father Ted
      • E.g. Tim & Jeremy Vine – not portrayed “as Christians”
      • The Archbishops
      • Vicar of Dibley
      • How do we feel about that? What best represent?
        • Those who were real/flawed is OK?
        • On TV Christians are generally really ‘unattractive’.
        • Mostly make you cringe… caricature
        • Christian men – portrayed – weak willed, effeminate in dramas
        • Dull spoilsports/no engagement with the real world, apart from: http://www.christiansinsport.org.uk/
        • Why no positive ones – tension works for news?
          • “Christians all get on with each other”… ?
          • Church – works if you’re there (works well on radio), but on TV hard to portray on TV – looks dull, or looks odd… so does it work on TV?

Religious Broadcasting: What is it for?

  • Representing a proportion of licence payers (Christians & other religion) – the content tends to be the kind of material that offers discipleship, so what other kind of content is there?
  • Understanding other people’s worldviews? Does it help us understand ourselves as a Christian society?
  • Does it belong in the mainstream (for wide audience)?
  • Does it belong in narrowcasting (interest groups)?
  • Tension – are you servants of the church or the audience?
  • Do we object to atheists making “Christian programmes”? (what is that programme?)
  • Tension – offer entertainment, or whether it’s content that’s more important?

Rev John Mayo – Rector of Whitechapel. Christmas Eve 1922 – first to speak on radio.

  • Sunday – church services, or musics, or talks by religious professionals. Assumed that religious broadcasting was to build the faith of believers, and evangelise to non-believers.
    • Katherine Cordeaux – campaigned for daily act of worship, still continues today – was “New Every Morning”.
    • Ordained ministers saw themselves as Priests on the radio – along came WW2 – did they critique or support the war?
    • http://www.sayers.org.uk/ – The Man Born to Be King – lots of division as to how Jesus should be portrayed (a WASP).
    • C.S. Lewis “Mere Christianity” came out of broadcasts: http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/christianity/people/cslewis_1.shtml. Church complained as he was a layman, and also because talks were scheduled very late at night.
    • 1948 – BBC seen as continuous teaching mission.
    • 1950s – TV more widely available. Is it OK to watch people praying? Is it OK to record worship? What is the status of a prayer that is pre-recorded?
      • Closed period – Sunday evening, 70% on religion. Home of religion on BBC was seen to be Sunday evening/morning – the one time, when that specific audience is not really available.
  • 1961 – Thought for the Day
  • 1980s – House churches, etc. growing, so led to programmes led by lay people, e.g. “This is the Day”.  V. small audience, and people weren’t participating as the programme assumed… (ring in, etc.).
    • No specific religious matter – against
  • 1990s – Decided to set up Heaven and Earth – religious programming for those who are not religious
  • Now: “The Big Questions”: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b007zpll
  • No quota on religious broadcasting, aside from ITV, 52 hours (middle of night). BBC – part of its charter.
  • Watching Programmes:
    • As a Christian working the media, do you feel that you can use the medium to present evangelistic material? No, if wrote songs, wouldn’t only write Christian songs – just produce the best songs that I can…
    • How does the Christian community make itself relevant to the WIDER community?
    • As a Christian working the media, do you feel that you can use the medium to present evangelistic material? No, if wrote songs, wouldn’t only write Christian songs – just produce the best songs that I can…
    • It’s not prejudice against Christians, it’s ignorance!!  They don’t know many Christians, or the Christian faith, and Christians haven’t gone out of their way to make themselves understood, and have developed a lot of niche broadcasting, which has sucked the talent out and away from the mainstream medias. Feeling from some in the church that working in the media is a bit “dodgy” – e.g. Christians working in medical field and teaching, lots of networks and who supports the media – if you need it start it yourself: http://www.themedianet.org/, but not a noticeable engagement with the media from the mainstream church.
      • So what can WE do if we don’t work in the media – with little budget, etc…
      • People still spend more time on TV, and we need to engage with that mass culture.
      • Just because New Media is here doesn’t mean we ignore old media.
      • Offer to be a news outlet to local radio, etc. – not just for the God Slot!
    • What’s happening that we seem to be polarising into new media & old media!!

Biblical Literacy and The Media @pmphillips #medialit

Biblical Literacy and The Media @pmphillips #medialit

Biblical Literacy Survey

Preaching Survey

  • Remember ‘accommodation theory’ – how do you understand what the church feels about preaching?  (http://www.dur.ac.uk/codec/blog/). Protecting from “reputational damage”.  Take the results… talking to “the experts” about what needs to change… but need to talk to the “activators” – those who are actually in the pew – rather than the professional body which tends to talk about “we’re doing great thanks”.
  • Encourage & lead… not about what may look good – remember that you are doing it for those in the pews/the audience NOT the person pushing. See Mary, Queen of Shops – create something that emphasises the client-side…  (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b007mwv9)
  • Are those videos (Rob Bell, etc.) what the church thinks wants to work. Great debate… just because I don’t like it, does that mean it’s not a great piece of communication?

Biblical Literacy Survey

  • Levels of Biblical Literacy have never been so low…
  • Why have so little Biblical training when training as ordinands? Why are you not ‘steeped’ in the Bible before going out…
  • Surveyed 1000 people in 9 different centres around England/Wales.
    • 75% of people have access to a Bible (35% modern versions, many have multiple)
    • 31% said it was significant (22% under 45)
    • 18% read it in the last week (11% under 45) [11 million, population of London]
    • 4% non-churchgoers read it last week.
    • People don’t engage with the Bible
    • People don’t know their Bible
    • 85% u45 have no knowledge of Abraham
    • 62% no knowledge about the Good Samaritan (although this is a phrase used in our language, only asking for A FACT)
    • 60% no knowledge about the Prodigal Son
    • 96% knew nothing about the madman at the graves.
    • Fairfax Report in the States – don’t learn Bible earlier, difficult to understand later.
      • If you don’t know your Bible, will be culturally and socially deficit.
      • Richard Dawkins says if you don’t know your Bible you have a cultural deficit.
      • Bible Society: Toxic rule book, it’s “not for normal people”, it’s for Holy Joes, good people, makes no sense for today, full of horrors.
      • Press very interested in the findings, Media Offices, BBC Press Releases, used personal contacts & used Twitter.  Phones read hot, and requests for copy are still ongoing.

Digital Symposium

  • Hashtag, Twitterfall, etc.

Preaching Survey; “View from the Pew”

  • Massive press interest
  • Tiny survey, 16 churches, not claiming to be representative.
  • Got picked up on p4 of the Times by Ruth Gledhill, and from there got picked up by many other hotspots.
  • http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8467504.stm
  • Lots of opportunities to be interviewed – including 20 seconds on the BBC!
  • The power of the media – can hear own information quoted back as selves… without attribution!

#cnm10, 16 October 2010, London, checking out the Theology of the Internet, including: http://www.christianblogawards.com/

Checkout: http://twubs.com/refract

Check out: Twitterfall (http://twitterfall.com/) #medialit

Diversity of responses again. Some didn’t get it, some thought it indicated that it’s not possible to become a Christian without intervention from someone else – others found it very effective.

Mini Christian viral – not on the scale of Susan Boyle!

Net Bibles

Package New Media – social shaping of technology

What about this video? More short & snappy?:

Communicating Conviction, @pmphillips #medialit

Communicating Conviction on Prezi

Currently listening to Pete’s presentation, may add a few more notes here, but the Prezi is easy to follow the train of thought!

THOUGHTS

http://menmedia.co.uk/oldhamadvertiser/news/s/1243081_church_loses_fight_to_block_new_takeaway?all_comments=1 – not really investigated the media and considering what was the BEST tool for the job. A problem, because there are many churches on Twitter, and the church only has 2 followers. Twitter is not solely about numbers, but it is a factor.

Video “I am Second” – hugely popular in the States (with all in the States – many stars putting their faith up): http://iamsecond.com/. Like Rob Bell, one person, and WORDS.  How can we express the Christian message better in pictures? I have a slight problem in that as soon as I hear American accents talking about God, I dohttp://drbexl.co.uk/wp-admin/post.php?post=1674&action=edit&message=1n’t know if it’s for me (that seems like a terrible thing to say, but…)

  • Is new media word based? Cross-platform?
  • The “word” is at the centre of the Gospel – they can communicate effectively so why are we so desiring to get rid of them?
  • Words are great, but VIDEO is not the space to use WORDS… real power of videos is in telling a story/visually
  • As we move towards video calling, is that true? Embodiment is important?

“I am Second” = reverse celebrity culture.  Props from Ikea (simplicity), why the dark location? The community around ‘I am Second’ online, including local groups. Many American youth stars, and many young people engaging strongly. What about ‘I am Last’?

Rob Bell & I am Second are polarising what we’re thinking… so if we, who are interested in media are, what about those who are just in the churches.

Accommodation Theory

Communicate appropriately – e.g. shouldn’t communicate in Welsh… Feel excluded (and maybe slightly amused)… huge mythology in Aberystwyth – the Welsh speak Welsh as soon as the English are nearby.

Accommodation Theory – use same vocabulary, etc.

http://www.tefl.net/esl-articles/accommodation.htm

Know your audience and you can start to accommodate yourself to them – not JUST words! (Is that what Rob Bell is trying to do – speak the language of the American people – looks like a Mac advert?). What about De Montfort advert: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q67EKPLpi2M.

  • When Paul goes to Greek city – always taking feet off the evangelistic pedal!!
  • World doesn’t see a difference between nature & practice.
  • Don’t be whipping people up with emotion, but see what God is already doing in their lives.

ACCOMMODATE to the world in which you live… rather than trying to protect ourselves in a Christian bubble…  Get no sense from Rev Plumpton, as to how he actually has a relationship with the community. How compromise that identity in presenting self in media?

My favourite video so far: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RbQso6hY5qE, by @koreuk

The Stolen Broadcast (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xl0oXmhTynw): Left open ended, want to ask questions… no fixed meaning (some don’t like this… because they don’t get it)… makes you think!  So busy FOR God, not time WITH God… ?!

I Love Elvis: A bit like Asterix, can be read on different levels. Can enjoy with no overtones, but if ‘reading’ with some Christian understanding can see the underlying meaning. Good animation scriptwriting. [End caption would be ‘out of broadcast’…] Images tie up and really tell the same story (as you would see with the news), which is what Nooma/Resurrection didn’t do yesterday with Rob Bell.  Interesting – comment from @fleming77 on Twitter: “we all grow out of Elvis one day”. Did this video miss the exciting point where there IS an opportunity to become Elvis’s?! A good modern parable, but has it been pushed too far? Nice scriptwriting by KOReUK, & animation by: http://www.ilovepinatas.com/

Concern? Jesus didn’t say “let’s tell a story… and then let’s have a discussion about it”. Usually he just told a story…  Can just watch and then go to the pub? Or should they provide the discussion starters?

Communication/Education

Not just to agree/reinforce, but to teach people something, to give NEW messages/information. What hurdles are you asking people to cross at the beginning of the gospels?

Paul goes out of his way to detextualise, to make it simple…

Does the medium need to dictate what the message is or be totally immersed in it?

At the end: What IS the message that you want to get across…  and then choose the appropriate medium that you want to do that…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddy_Christ

Being Interviewed: Theory #medialit (Andrew Graystone)

  • How would you get us on the front page?
    • Scandal, dramatic.
    • Buy the newspaper/space on it & put the information on it.
  • The News Agenda = “truth”
    • Topical “It’s happening NOW”
    • Relevant “Relevant to the location, does it matter to the location”
    • Unusual  “Is it out of the ordinary?” 50,000 Christians in Wembley Stadium worshipping – that’s what Christians always do – but if they all give away their possessions.”
    • Tension “Has to be some drama/sense of drama/what happens next?”
    • Human “Only really care about what happens to us. The oil story – not about the oil, but about how it affects people.”
  • What makes news?
    • Michael Jackson spotted in London (but we thought he was dead – is he?)
    • Swine flu arrives in UK (will it affect those we know)
    • Amy Winehouse arrested for drug abuse (not unusual, but celebrity)
    • Obscure Durham band releases new album (new to friends/those in Durham – its not national news, but of interest to others).
    • David Cameron does deal with Taliban (important nationally)
      • Who’s interested in reading/publishing that news? Who has a stake in it?
  • Stages in the news cycle
    • Finding the news
    • Gathering the news
    • Writing the news
    • Editing the news
    • Ordering the news (newsworthiness or audience?)
    • Publishing the news
      • News cycle can repeat within one particular story – e.g. the BP oil spill – new angles are developed to keep it in the news.
      • Can be weekly, daily.. and now with online, it’s pretty much continuous.
      • For papers – 12 hours from print to read, in the meantime, many of those people will have seen more up-to-date news online or TV – how do they respond to this? Move from common news to other stories, or “anticipate”.
  • News Sources
    • Investigative Journalism (goes out and discovers – many see this as normal, but it’s a very small %age)
    • Creative Journalism (10 stories a day for a small paper – wait for stories delivered to you, e.g. press releases, if not that – e.g. see a pothole, ring one councillor, then the other – and create a new story)
    • Churnalism – re-use other news outlets (newspapers, etc.).
    • Press agencies. Collect but don’t publish – sell it to others.
    • Freelance journalists – collect & sell individuals stories. Ethical issues in deciding.
    • Friends, family & contacts
    • User-generated content (UGC).  Most noticeably from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buncefield_fire
    • PR feeds and press releases
      • The lower ones are more productive than the others.
  • Cardiff Uni Dept of Journalism
    • 60% wholly or mainly wire copy or PR material
    • 20% had elements of this that had been added to
    • 8% from unidentifiable sources
    • 12% generated by reporters.
      • Newsworthiness?
      • In the public interest?
      • Who’s wagging the tail?
      • Less & less clear – what is a journalist? Journalistic privilege –e.g. required not to give source? E.g. BBC will only publish a news story if Press Association or x 2 sources. Sky will only use one source – so get news out before the BBC, but have to retract afterwards.
    • Talking about Paul Hucker: http://ow.ly/218I5 #medialit – same story had run in 2002, but the story went global very quickly.  Simon Burgess & Paul Hucker had run similar stories e.g. Halloween, etc..
  • President Reuven Frank “News is what someone wants to suppress. Everything else is advertising.”
    • American News – particularly – need to get their sources right.  What impact did 9/11 have on the way stories are told?
    • Newspapers seen as ‘giving the wide view’ – one of the complaints is that new media – we are too niched and stick to one area – how pre-mediated is this. With Twitter, etc. can self-correct very fast?!
  • Clips
    • What is the interviewer trying to do?
      • Trying to get him to say something controversial
      • Being provocative – not just newsworthy, has to be entertaining (stop people switching off/get his contract renewed).
      • Who? What? When? Where? Why?
        • Needs tension, passion, contradiction.
        • Who has the power? Are they on the make?
        • Is this person telling the truth? What are they trying to hide?
    • What is the interviewee trying to do?
      • Trying to get his point across if interviewer lets him
    • http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-152361/The-Red-Cross-bans-Christmas.html, picked up by Radio 4. How much warning would she have got? Would she have been able to say it’s up for review, etc.?
  • Giving an Interview, what would you ask?! Say YES
    • What is the focus of the interview?
    • Who’s going to be listening?
    • Why have they asked you?
    • Is there going to be more than one interviewer/interviewee?
    • How long is it going to be?
    • Is it recorded or is it live? Don’t say anything unless you’re happy to have it broadcast (no control over editing, so be in control of the interview). Live is always better.
      • Takes so long to be interviewed as tape is cheap, getting the crew there in the first place is expensive – so takes 1 hour’s tape, even if only using 60 seconds. Prepare before you go on.  If you’re not happy with something and ask them not to use it, that’s when they become interested and think that’s the best bit to use.
    • What questions are you thinking of asking? No guarantee that’s what they’ll ask.
    • When are you going to do it? Are you available? Guarantee inconvenient time so make yourself available. E.g hard to get Christian vicar to say “the Resurrection happened” as had to preach to own congregations – but the radio congregation = 0.5 million…
    • What’s before/after?
    • Who are THEY? Is this freelance, is it for a particular organisation? What media format is it for?
    • Is it on the phone? On the studio?
    • Ask for a copy afterwards. Tony Benn records his own interview.
  • Be part of the public conversation – which isn’t happening IN the churches.
    • I’ll ring you back in 10 minutes (not tomorrow!) Take time to prepare, or  institutions: Consult your Comms Officer (they usually have an overview)… unless you feel that you want to be a ‘martyr’ for a different cause – but remember you can only be a martyr once.
    • What is YOUR focus? What do you want to say? Never mind what they’re asking you..  Phone a friend and see how it sounds.
      • Is this ethical? Archbishop of Canterbury would ask is it ethical for the media to set the agenda?
      • We assume that ‘the media’ ask ‘the right questions’ – the media told us that.
      • Are there some who should never say yes? Can you pass them onto someone else who could ‘speak better’, don’t leave it hanging! Remember you’re talking to a general audience – you are the expert.
      • Most people say NO which leaves the airwaves bereft of Christian voices.
    • Why is “no comment” such a bad idea? We have been given a gift of communication from God – we are co-creators – so it’s our BUSINESS to communicate with the world – so why would you ever say “no comment”.
      • E.g. Red Cross – why is she not talking about WHAT the Red Cross DOES? This is not about Christmas Trees in shops, it’s about aid to the poorest people… he might not like it, but… !
      • What is your default message? Best way to kill a bad news story is with a good news story.
  • Listen to the programme (what speed do they talk at?)
  • Get the facts before you get there.. what the story is about & what you want to say. Take your facts and turn them into “pictures”. Radio: double-decker bus, the football pitch or Wales!
  • Decide what you want to say before you get there – do you want to sound passionate or?
  • What are the bear traps to look out for in the questions?
  • Be yourself on air, SMILE – as it comes across on the radio (need about 15% more than in real life). 2 people meeting each other. Not your title/expertise that are important, it’s your personality/personal experience that counts. People will listen to the person who has BEEN THERE.
  • Respect the listener  (radio – people usually listen individually) – it’s you and them.
  • Get your main message in FIRST. Don’t wait for the conversation to work round to it. If you want to give the impression that you’re a friendly, jolly vicar… or a web address – get it in!

PRACTICAL SESSION: Prepare for Interview

  • Do miracles happen?
  • Why does church attendance keep on falling?
  • Is it OK if your vicar is gay?
    • If it’s a story that’s your own experience – so can’t be contradicted,  and once you’ve started a story how do you get stopped?
    • Beware of Jargon, sound inclusive.
    • Can you win by personality, rather than by argument?
    • Energy & conflict…
    • Don’t necessarily need to be liked, but need to keep people listening.
    • Sandpaper Jockeys – run people up the wrong way
    • Other DJs – can draw things out of people…

Andrew Graystone, #MediaLit

Work in TV

  • Can you fix my DVD player?
  • Can you get my nephew work experience?
  • How do you work out how many people are watching? http://www.barb.co.uk/ – see http://www.barb.co.uk/about/tvMeasurement .
    • How many are watching at all
    • Record = audience share of those watching anything at all
    • Appreciation index – how much people like the programme.
    • Programme Ratings
      • Reality
      • Participative
      • Make you laugh/relax
      • Fascination for people’s lives/stories (especially “success” – e.g. Susan Boyle)
      • 20th November BBC News – Cumbria Floods.  Question Time = Nick Griffin
      • What is the impact of digital?
      • In annual survey – events, especially entertainment events, at the top – ITV do more of these.
      • Most 7-9pm.
      • Lots of murder mystery/whodunit.
      • Not much that’s obviously children’s programming – if they are, they’re watching adult TV.  (Has been declining for 30 years, rising with girls watching Hollyoaks/Eastenders).
      • How many people watching TV in total in any one time?  Unknown
      • Most watch 2 hours 40 mins per day.
      • WHY do people watch TV – engage, escape/not on their own, inform, etc.  Defining ‘normative’ behaviours?  Idleness? Soap = magnified/distorted version of life? But the normality of what they’re doing/wearing/listening to, etc.
      • Equation – media influence the culture or culture creates the media?
      • Difference of American/British soaps? Teenagers repeat what they see on the soaps, etc. – extremist religion, etc.
      • Why do Christians watch TV? Our previous survey indicated that Christians watch less TV than the general population. Don’t think this is true – watch same/react same way. Only difference – those in Christian leadership watch less & complain about it more. Worrying – if we’re not integrating it into our Christian discipleship.
      • Nick Pollard  & Steve Couch– Get More Like Jesus Whilst Watching TV.
        • To learn about God, as God reveals himself in the world. As an art form, allows us to see God – tell our story – that is part of God’s story.  A theology of communication. Encourage and value Christian creativity/artists, including programme makers, but also challenging them to tell the trust about God, and what is the media telling us about God, ourselves and the world. Media = a mirror to the culture – but a fairground mirror.
        • To understand the culture – a theology of mission. Presents us with a digested view of reality. Tells us what kind of behaviour is good/valued, etc. People assess the importance of world events in relation to TV appearances on the media… or reference Hollyoaks/Neighbours, etc. – won’t necessarily copy the behaviour there, but it’s a reference point. Even those who don’t see TV understand the cultural references to it.
          • The Church now provides the liturgical calendar for the year – frames the year as the church calendar used to.
          • To be effective in mission need to understand not only what you believe, but how others believe!
      • To take time out. Have mind distracted. Frank Lloyd-Wright “Chewing Gum for the Eyes” – Theology of Entertainment – God takes joy in our leisure, etc. God created rest – it’s legitimate. Pollard wants us to watch with our guards aware…
      • To indulge our fantasies – including monetary fantasies or BabeStation!
  • Advice for a Christian getting a TV for the first time…
    • Buy a decent TV!
      • With a TV – it’s all online, so why do you want a TV?
      • Community viewing via Twitter, etc..
      • Be selective/intentional.
      • Be critical – reflect on things
      • Watch it with your kids
      • Are there any decent Christian characters on TV?
      • Be aware for  #watercooler conversation
      • Danger: think it’s real life “I saw it on TV, so it must be true”
  • 8 October 1961, Andrew Graystone & Songs of Praise were born at the same time.
    • Accidental ended up in TV. Wanted a job in the North-West. TV researcher “how hard can that be?”.
    • A real shock from theology to the BBC. Long hours, lots of travel. All the numbers are big (budgets, audiences, etc.) whereas church all the numbers were small. Put Charlotte Church on TV at 12. Spent 1.5 days with Stephen Hawking talking about God, etc… Chaotic industry. Wants those who work in churches to understand more.
  • 10 things that TV has taught Andrew Graystone
    • TV is made by ordinary people, including the “celebrities” on screen. (Avg age BBC employee – 27, most on v short contracts/insecure, powerful cultural influences held by the young, e.g. marriage not held in high regard on TV as many of those had not much or poor experiences. )
    • TV is powerful. E.g. When Delia Smith used a brand of frying pan sold out the next day; Jamie Oliver using real vanilla – those in African villages were killing each other for that; Princess Diana’s funeral still the most watched; Baywatch still biggest global programme; Only Fools & Horses sold to Nepal)
    • TV has a major impact on children. Majority have TVs in their bedroom including 1/3 pre-school age. 50% of under 2 year olds watch 3 hours  a day – because neighbourhood is “unsafe” – so TV a ‘safe environment’.
    • Older people watch more TV than younger people.  About 5 hours per day, more than national average (2 hours 40 per day). So if average viewer is 56… producer = 27?! Making TV for our parents.
    • TV doesn’t always tell the truth. “Stars in Their Eyes”…  (come in with their “ordinary clothes” (just bought by Wardrobe!), 3 seconds later through the door (transformed)…  first bit = Tuesday, re-record Thursday (different audience, but the smoke = a trick!).  We’re sophisticated in grammar on TV so we can spot/forgive it.  Have to turn 40 hours of filming, turn it into a 59 minute programmes – could have told ANY NUMBER of stories that would have worked for the audience – making choices – not trying to record 1 hour of events! Had chosen the “random” people to be good characters. The integrity of the programme maker is REALLY important. Those who are watching it’s important not to just watch uncritically. Whilst editing – could have got some juicy stuff re: Melvyn Bragg – could get some good coverage in the news, etc. but decided not relevant to who he is, so left it out. Glenn Hoddle – actively asked to leave out ‘believe in reincarnation’ – should you leave it in or out? Real dilemmas faced whenever in the edit suite – put it in because it was clear that he believed in it – important to tell the truth.
    • Audiences are all-important. All programmes are commissioned to the audience (not just ‘a great idea’ – guidelines ,e.g.  want 1.5 million/female/over 50 audience, find a programme that will give me that).  If more people watched = great, if less = have an ‘inquest’. More proactive than you think…  Don’t assume that the first priority is to tell the truth – it’s to entertain. (http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/showbiz/tv/724175/Ant-and-Dec-Saturday-Night-Takeway-Jiggy-bank.html) – why were they not sent to the tower – people were entertained so they voted.  In purely commercial TV – it’s about selling the advertising. BBC as a PBS – not purely commercially driven.
    • TV is competitive. (800 people applied for his job, 799 were still waiting!). For every slot on TV there are 100 ideas submitted.
    • TV is changing very fast. Digital has transformed everything in TV… we’re only at the start. In 5 years look VERY different
    • All TV is trying to sell you something. Children watch 18000 TV adverts per year.  They are not public service announcements.
    • TV creates the framework for our culture/lives.  What do we do with it?
  • Is all TV the same? What difference has digitisation made (e.g. being able to watch at any time?). What about access to e.g. God Channel, Al Jazeera. Hole in the Wall – sold to many countries. What about massive brands  -e.g. “X –Got-Talent” – many voices round the edge (digitally), but the central homogonisation!
  • Mass Culture – YouTube, etc. Will see more of the ‘Rage Against the Machine’ type thing…  Will people get bored with Simon Cowell? Yes, but they’ll be another one waiting in the wings…  YouTube – very “normalness” – we’d never escape from that.
    • Rage Against the Machine – originally written as a protest song, but became a piece of consumerism – difficult to break out of the circle.
  • Analysing world view of culture (crude tool)
    • Watch a programme on TV
      • Surface: describe what you’re seeing there.
      • Can then identify the values of that culture/programme – what is approved/disapproved of? What is rewarded/encouraged?
      • What are the core beliefs driving that culture/programme.
      • Example: The Weakest Link…
        • Dark, brooding, colours, etc.
        • Coming first is valued, being fast enough, rewarded by money, it’s OK to be rude to people, etc.  Is a competitive environment.
        • Essentially Darwinist – the survival of the fittest – adapt to an environment? Or is it survival of the luckiest? Dishonesty is built into it – I can’t own to being the weakest link.  Usually the Godlike figure is the production community – e.g. The Dealer on ‘Deal or No Deal’.
      • Example: Deal or No Deal
        • Noel Edmonds – has-been celebrity. Money, boxes, old-fashioned telephone, banker. No skill required.  Randomly distributed boxes. Audience (interactive). Sense of community.
        • Values: Approved of: Risk, Community ‘we want the best for each person’ – the banker is the enemy.  Wants to give as little money away as possible. Noel Edmunds = “a priest”. Language has a religion around it.. “positive thinking = it’ll be a blue”. Liturgy – do you have a pattern or not? Chanting together?! Audience are called ‘pilgrims’. People give reasons for why which numbers, although it’s completely random… Re-edited to give a ‘superstitious’ choice. Rituals about the ‘newbies’.
        • Core Beliefs: Noel Edmonds believes in Cosmic Ordering. More money you have = the better your life will be “life-changing amount”. Positive community. Gambling is OK. You can change “what’s in the box”. Negotiation access – have limited power to make decisions – but in the end not fundamentally in control.
      • Superficially similar programmes, but have very different formats.
  • Important we begin to try and understand what is driving the TV programme.

The God who Communicates (David Wilkinson) #medialit

Theology of communication not articulated clearly, but comes out in attitude/actions.

Great exercises

  • Circle “cross the room if”
  • Agree/Disagree on a scale (why)
  • Tableau – still image of ‘football’ and ‘communication’
  • Images of Christians on TV/in TV – what’s the most disturbing?
    • Irrelevant
    • Trying to be hip when not comfortable in that medium
    • 1960s still there
    • American televangelists (what most people see)
    • Lack of passion
    • Trying to manipulate people through emotion.
    • Church leaders out of touch with the culture
    • Lack of depth
    • Are lots of important public faces e.g. Martin Luther-King
    • What is a communicating God about?

Towards a Theology of Communication

  • God is a communicating God “In the beginning was the word”. God is extravagant in communication – he’s not a silent God who has to be tempted into communicating with people.
  • Nature of God as a communicating God = fundamental.
  • God communicates in context – there’s a particularity. Quite often Christians get this wrong, and preach into the wrong context. [The Fast Show]
  • The nature of Jesus comes alive as you’re hearing it in your own language – connecting appropriately in the right context.
  • God speaks within the language – why so much Bible translation.

God Communicates in Word & Deed

  • He doesn’t simply dictate verbal writings – God – the word becomes flesh. The ways he communicates is varied in so many ways.
  • Incarnation is visible and vulnerable.  Visible and not always in control. What is said in the pulpit has to be lived in our actions.

God communicates in self giving love

  • God became flesh in the world – the world that is negative to him.
  • There is a cost to authentic Christian communication. May have to suffer/mocked. God doesn’t come to condemn the world, but to live it. There is a view that we are about an ethical condemnation of the world… We’re safe here, isn’t that terrible over there..
  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RzToNo7A-94
  • Many think God is like this.
  • God comes into the world with all its limitations and works with it.
  • This week – affirmations of what is good within the media. Christian church often hesitant and demonised.

Shannon & Weaver – how communication happens. Sender/receiver model Message, thought about – how does message go from sender to receiver? What channel, what noise is in the channel? Feedback is going on. Have to code the message & decode it. Communication as a power relationship from sender to receiver.

Quentin Schultze – “co-producers of culture”.

God gives us the gift of communication and we’re not just passive receivers.