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Eye on the Fourth Estate – Gonzo Futurist Reporting

*Gonzo Futurism (a merging of gonzo journalism and Futurism): the act of participating/ documenting future trends via self-experimentation.

Checked in to the Crossing Boundaries Conference at UCB last Thursday. Nerding out in Academia Land (UC Berkeley) hearing presenters wax on about the state of media and its forced democratization through new media technology and social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. You can tell there are some old guards of the Fourth Estate here that won’t go down without kicking and screaming.

I won free tickets to the conference because I responded to the email with my “Global News Word of the Day.” At first I googled it thinking there was an actual site where you could find the Global Word for each day. Then I realized that I had to think for myself! This was last Monday, so I responded with “MELTDOWN.”

In reflecting on what would be resounding in the global consciousness – that I determined would be potential impending Nuclear Meltdown in Japan. But meltdown has multiple meanings some negative, some positive, some neutral. Global warming, personal meltdown crisis, a melting of something rigid.

I’m drifting into a light food conference coma from post Cobb Salad and too many hours of listening to talk talk talk. I do love the Aussie accents though.

I’m trying to imagine what a futuristic journalist would be like. If I am a cyborg journalist, am I freelance? Do I work with a larger cyborg news force – like “the Borg“? Or an assemblage new media form something open source and evolving?

In terms of performative reporting, I’m interested in invoking characters and personalities to draw out programmed reactions, truth, and to entertain. More thoughts later!

Highlights of the conference was Jane Singer’s presentation (University of Iowa) and meeting Kara Andrate and hearing her thoughts on the role of the journalist as trickster.


Ken Goldberg (Berkeley Center for New Media) presenting about “Opinion Space.”

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