Friday, March 27, 2009
Being a judge of the Guardian Student Media Awards is turning into an uneasy experience. At one point I was asked for my 'top tips' for playing the media game. I obliged but, as my tips show, I felt there was something wrong with the idea of the 'media game'. I then receive the game in question. It is a board game called Media Mogul Mania that forms the application package. 'What will you do to win the game?' runs the teaser on the box which is decorated with a sort of constructivist/pop design involving a man in a suit with a ghetto blaster, a blonde with a giant mobile phone and a red high heel being driven into a male foot. The latter image is blown up to poster size inside the box. The game is elaborately playable - so elaborate that I can't bring myself to explain. Now, of course, this is all marketing and this is, in all probability, how the target audience of students see the media - as a colourful and rather nasty game. But is the Guardian itself entirely happy with this presentation of its business? I'm not. There are many forces currently at work trying to trivialise the media, trying to turn us all into a useful idiot subsidiary of celebrity culture. It is self-evident that these forces should be resisted and that, as part of this resistance effort, young people coming into the media - especially newspapers - should be encouraged to take the highest and most serious view of their work. They can have plenty of fun in the process, but the fun is is not the point of the exercise. And by the way, kids, those who come into the game purely for fun usually crash and burn. So, in a nutshell, I'm uneasy because the marketing of the GSMA plays into the hands of those who would marginalise and, finally, destroy my trade. I shall judge the entries with gloomy, bleak, sober, funless, unforgiving rigour.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 6:52 am