Watch Out – Live Journalism!
News on Stage is currently a project offering the chance to meet journalists face-to-face in person or online as they tell their stories exclusively to a live audience
Be the first to hear unpublished stories in a unique, theatrical production.
Enter a public space to debate the issues of the day.
Get involved in the news.
What do journalists do? How do they work? How can we trust them?
We’re academics and writers who are interested in how journalism and theatre can interact. We’re open to ideas about staging a range of work about journalism to inform, educate and entertain.
The News on Stage project launched its first performative journalism event, ‘Unrelated Stories’, under lockdown in July 2020. The original intention was to stage this at The Playwright pub in Nottingham, but due to the coronavirus pandemic we transferred the venue to Zoom.
The idea is to stage productions where an audience meets journalists who ‘break the news’ to them face-to-face. The reporters will tell their latest stories (both news and features) using a variety of dramatic devices, such as imaginative audio-visual techniques, reconstructions, improvisation and ‘verbatim’ style scripting. This might include actors, live guests, audience participation, stage-lighting, audio, music, photography and video clips.
Crucially, the live event is the first airing of this information, which could subsequently be disseminated via mass-media (online, print or broadcast). If successful, the model could be rolled out as a regular event in a variety of locations. The project is an experiment that harks back to the ‘town crier’, but also borrows from 1930s agitprop, Living Newspapers and modern ‘verbatim’ theatre.
Why it’s Good for Journalism
The idea emerges following the ‘crisis of trust’ around journalists today, current problems with funding news and internet issues, such as verification. Although the print industry is facing hard times, research shows people still want local news and they trust it most when it’s told to them by another person.
We believe this type of event could be useful in several ways: by building a community of the audience; connecting them to their news provider; providing a unique public space for debate; encouraging political or community engagement and demystifying the journalism processes. News outlets will get to know their audience better, generate news content from those present, boost their brand and profile, enhance the credibility and authority of the journalistic profession and to create an extra income stream.
Unless experiments and research are carried out into new journalistic formats and their effectiveness, it will not be possible to monitor or explain current trends in news production and consumption and thus solutions for the future of quality, well-resourced journalism will not be found. This has obvious consequences for democracy and human freedoms, as Joseph Pulitzer observed in 1904:
“The press is the only great organized force which is actively and as a body upholding the standard of civic righteousness.”
News on Stage is a new and evolving research project, led by Catherine Adams at Nottingham Trent University and Glenda Cooper at City, University London.