Media innovation and social impact: the case of living documentaries
This scholarly essay discusses one particular form of documentary production: interactive documentary. It does so in the larger context of media innovation research. Its main aim is to shed light on how those thinking and creating living documentaries define and frame social impact. The thesis behind this essay is, that contrary to media innovation happening within the paradigm of what scholars and practitioners call the ‘media industries’ - which are largely tributary to capitalist impact criteria, living documentary producers are mainly driven by the potential social impact that their work might have. By presenting and analysing the living documentary Field Trip (2019), a project in which I assumed a combined role of practitioner-researcher, I offer a case study that illustrates and tests my assumptions. I complement my observations within the case study with interviews and other practices. My findings indicate that from a media production perspective, the impact expectations of those making living documentaries can loosely be as associated with a commons-based production paradigm. Yet, producers of these documentaries constantly need to renegotiate and compromise on their social impact expectations because of internal production affordances and the (external) dominance of the ‘media industries’ paradigm.
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution BY 4.0 License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).