Long after Tiger Woods has been forgiven his transgressions, one lasting legacy of his extramarital activities will be a new journalistic art form: the animated news report. Millions of people have now viewed the online animations produced by Hong Kong-based Next Media depicting the wronged wife coming after Tiger Woods with a golf club and smashing the back window of his vehicle, causing the now-famous accident.
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. (If you’ve somehow missed this animation, view it at http://tinyurl.com/YL9H6X6).
Journalistic traditionalists tut-tut; animations are not re-enactments so much as a potential version of the news. Even leading new-media journalists are ambivalent. Kara Swisher, who blogs at the Journal’s All Things Digital Web site, quipped, “It’s not pretty, but it is hard to avert my eyes from the bizarre video report,” comparing it to a video game “gone awry.” She said she couldn’t tell “whether such faux representations of how news might or might not have happened is a good or bad thing.”
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