My wife, Sue, and I have watched ten episodes of Series 1 of The Newsroom last week.
We have found it compelling viewing. I was hooked by program 1.
I use ‘hooked’ to describe this experience. Lisa Cron (2012) suggests:
Story is what makes us human. Recent breakthroughs in neuroscience reveal that our brain is hardwired to respond to story; the pleasure we derive from a tale well told is nature’s way of seducing us into paying attention to it.
We think in story. It’s hardwired in our brain. It’s how we make strategic sense of the otherwise overwhelming world around us. … the brain constantly seeks meaning from all the inputs thrown at it, yanks out what’s important for our survival on a need-to-know basis
The first episode used a real-life story of the Deepwater Horizon Oil spill to introduce the emerging Newsroom team. I found it fascinating to see how a team emerged in the context of responding to a breaking news story.
The background to the episode can be found here.
The key characters are:
A small team of existing staff (Will, Charlie, Margaret, Don, and Neal) are joined by MacKenzie and Jim.
The didactic part of the episode for me was how experience and expertise was negotiated. MacKenzie was brought in to the Newsroom transform the culture of the Newsroom. She brings Jim with her. They have worked together before and he is part of the deal that brought MacKenzie. The identification of MacKenzie as a rare talent is the responsibility of Charlie Skinner, Will’s line manager and mentor.
Everywhere you look in Episode 1 there are great parallels with sport teams and the role coaches play in building them. There are some excellent resistance-to-change moments too.
I do think is an excellent resource to trigger discussions about team building. I think trigger follows from the hook. Lisa Cron suggests that “stories are about how we, rather than the world around us, change”. I think video offers a very powerful medium to trigger learning.
Back in 1984, David Boud and Margaret Pearson looked at the use of trigger films for affective learning. These trigger films “are short, high-emotional impact vignettes designed to trigger a response in the viewer”.
I looked at the hook/trigger relationship back in 2003. The availability of high quality videos and online content is making the use of trigger videos even more powerful, particularly with simulation opportunities. The Newsroom is a prime example, I think.
Frame Grabs The Newsroom Official Site