Backpack Journalism at Catholic University in Caracas

CARACAS, Venezuela, 3 May 2012 — Had a great two-hour session today with students at the Andres Bello Catholic University. About 90 students from all sectors of the university showed up for the presentation, which marked World Press Freedom Day. During the talk, “Technology and the New Age of Information,” I showed a bit of the piece I did for NOW on PBS in Afghanistan and discussed the role of backpack journalism.

Quoting from a speech I delivered at the Harvard Club in New York City two years ago, I said:

“We are, right now, at an extraordinary juncture in the history of mankind, technology and communication. Even more important than the Gutenberg press, the advances in digital cameras and the Internet provide us unprecedented opportunity. Ordinary citizens of the world now wield extraordinary power. We wield the power to communicate instantly, globally and in a language, the visual language, which supersedes both the written and the spoken word. This visual language knows no frontiers. It needs no translation. It is contingent on no corporate support. It is one of the most powerful tools of our time…And backpack journalism is the embodiment of this visual language.

“No matter what the new media landscape looks like after the current upheaval, backpack journalism will be an important part of it.”

If anything, backpack journalism will be even more important in the future than I expected two years ago.