The idea started in the most nebulous terms when I was in j-school.
I realized early on where journalism's calculations were off. The kicker was it was a simple and straightforward error to correct.
The problem was human nature can get complacent, and once you get on a hamster wheel and you start running, you think you are getting somewhere because you are moving; so nothing is wrong, and if you keep running, then it stands to reason that you will get to where you want to if you keep running.
It doesn't work that way.
I worked as a journalist before I went to j-school, while I was in j-school, and after I graduated from j-school. Western's j-school was opulent and the Dean Peter Desbarats, had a long and storied career in journalism, and I can honestly say he was very supportive of me. We had long talks about our grandparents, and he was very encouraging and helpful.
For me, it was a nurturing atmosphere, and a lot was done right: but journalism had major elements missing. If those elements were brought in, it would be a far stronger and better product.
The problem is you need a spiral staircase, and not a hamster wheel. You have to know the difference or you never get anywhere.
After my two books were published, I went back to my original theory about journalism.
I decided to test my theory by running a small experimental web site called Chaser News -- short for Chaser Investigative News Services. It was enigmatic, experimental, eccentric, personal, whimsical, blunt, and fun. The animations I have used here came from my old website. The animation site is now defunct, but these animations were coded editorials that had a secret language and meaning all on their own.
It was a bare-bones one-women outlet, and I actively tested my theories in a way I couldn't when I was working for someone else's media outlet. There were bugs and flaws, but there was a lot I learned, but then the website transmuted and expanded to included fiction. I played with those animations that became an entity of their own, and I ended up developing characters that ended up in A Dangerous Woman Story Studio with them. It was an unforeseen consequence that spun-off into something entirely different and unexpected.
After I refined my work and theories, I wrote When Journalism was a Thing.
It was a requiem for a fallen profession, but when a curtain falls, it signals it will once again rise for a new act.
F.R.E.E.D. is the end result of my previous work. I haven't said very much about the nuts and bolts of it, but there is a reason for everything. It will be revealed in due time.
F.R.E.E.D. is a simple system that takes into account truth, reality, perception, and interpretation. It is a method of testing those four strands of our understanding of our environment. Journalism failed to grasp the differences, and what happened was that society became corrupted because there was no one to slap delusions back with reality. People began to honestly believe that sophistry, opinion, interpretation, and perceptions were just the same as reality. Illusions and then delusions polluted thinking.
Narrative was assumed to be a necessary part of "hooking in" audiences, when it wasn't. People primed themselves into thinking every story was a fairy tale. It isn't.
There is no closure. There are always consequences, and the longer a problem is ignored, the longer and harder those consequences can be.
But putting out dry facts won't work, either.
There is a way to ensure interest without relying on narrative. That method is F.R.E.E.D. -- a method where everything counts and has purpose and meaning.
I will roll out more in the coming weeks. It is a system of showing complexities with simplicity. It is a way of finding multiple perspectives without seeing the world as a pecking order. It has a built-in system of combatting propaganda. It allows for more than just breaking news, but also long arc stories as well.
I saw a problem and I decided to ponder it to see if there was a way to solve it. It is not a rote method of journalism. It is not about following scripts, either.
I do have an upcoming book to introduce shortly, and it will cover the things that made journalism obsolete.
But there can be other ways to not merely keep up with the times -- but get ahead of them...