Sunday, 7 November 2010

Johnny Selman

Designer Johnny Selman is telling the news in a very different way. He is taking a headline from the BBC news everyday and creating a piece of design based on it.

The purpose of this project is to promote the awareness of global current events with the American public. ”American citizens know little about current events in general and even less about overseas events” according to The Washington Post in 2006. The article further explains that the reasons for the “unwillingness of American citizens to live up to their civic responsibilities” are due to the supply and content of our news. In the article titled “Mind the Gap,” an explanation is given as such: “Driven by market pressures, news organizations across the globe are turning to more entertainment-centered forms of reporting, making it more difficult for lazy citizens to encounter substantive political information as a matter of course. An important consequence of the shift to “soft news” has been the scaling back of international bureaus and staff.”

Heavily “domesticated” news programming creates fewer opportunities for people to learn about overseas events. Even at the height of the Cold War, when international issues were front-page news, the American public displayed only superficial awareness of overseas events and foreign policy. In the post-Cold War era, despite massive increases in education and access to information, Americans continued to lag behind citizens of other industrialized democracies on measures of international affairs information. In 1994, for example, an eight nation survey found that citizens of Mexico, Spain, Italy, Canada, Germany, Britain and France were more able than Americans to provide correct answers to a series of questions tapping foreign affairs. Whereas thirty-seven percent of the American sample was unable to answer a single question, the comparable level of ignorance (averaged) for Italy,France, Britain, Germany and Canada was 19% (Iyengar).

We often see this style of headline news design used in newspapers or weekly magazines but this undertaking of producing a new piece of design everyday for a year is taking it to a new level. I admit that not all of the designs that he has produced are of high standard but the majority are, he conveys headlines in a powerful and sometimes humorous way so that the public can become more engaged and enlightened about the issues in the news that they sometimes may not have been aware of or interested in.