As the nights draw in this hemisphere – Welcome from Critical Distance!
So what’s all this then?
Been incredibly busy the last couple of months with a great new project at the High Tech Campus in Eindhoven. I am the Media Director of the start-up accelerator, Startupbootcamp HightechXL based in the smartest square kilometre on the planet. There is a website giving details about the programme. The website with news of what’s happening is here.
From humble beginnings, Critical Distance has grown into an internationally recognised knowledge and production network. In fact we’re best described as a global guild of digital craftsmen and women. At a time when every company is becoming a media company (in some form or other), Critical Distance specializes in building practical media strategies with motivated teams. That means we understand audiences, how to get messages across, especially when ideas need to cross either political or cultural boundaries. We’re in the narrative business.
Critical Distance is ten years old. A decade of providing a wide range of consulting services to match the rapid changes in the media. International broadcasting can changed beyond all recognition. But so has print media. That’s because of the rising influence of social media platforms. And as the audience has had more influence, the clever companies have responded to these changes. Time to reflect, refresh and explore new fields.
Audiences are still at the heart of everything we do. Understand the audience and you can build powerful, relevant narratives. That may be for social or commercial gain or both. In today’s world of many screens that means integrating existing and emerging media platforms to build conversations in society. But the good news is, the audience has never been closer. At Critical Distance we combine (both public and confidential) research with video and audio production skills to make those stories really effective and lasting.
Jonathan works with other partners in the guild across the globe, consulting to the senior management of large companies. We’re also coaching and training tech-savvy start-ups on how to get their ideas into the right context. Jonathan’s heritage is with international broadcasting as an award-winning producer of major audio and video productions. A lot of his work in that era is now on-line, mainly as an academic resource. But, whilst the storytelling techniques remain the same, the platforms and the media mix is radically different from those days. The work in 2013 – and for the foreseeable future- is mainly with non-broadcast companies because, without a powerful story narratives, companies quickly flounder.
Many corporations are rethinking their PR strategy, dumping the simple “press release” and making more use of video to communicate their ideas and goals. But only a few companies are able to do this in an engaging, authentic way. Critical Distance has developed methods to get this right, both fast and economically. And we have plenty of examples, developed in 2012, to demonstrate that the strategy works. The company is currently active with projects in India, the UK, The Netherlands and the US.
Getting in touch
If you want to contact Jonathan right now, then the best way is by e-mail, which is checked regularly. Because of spam problems we have introduced a web form. That is connected to my email address so I see any reactions immediately. Met quite a few new old friends recently, so rest assured this system works.
This page has been designed as a quick reference. Think of it as a switchboard to various activities. It is updated as needed. In the meantime, to catch-up with Jonathan’s current news and videos, please click on the blog links to the right. He also has an aboutme page and you will find him active on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter. You can check out his LinkedIn Profile here.
Read on for the general overview. Jonathan is also a regular commentator on technology and media related developments. He has regularly appeared on the BBC, ABC, and other media outlets discussing topics raised on his blog, or reacting to current affairs. Let Jonathan know if you’re working to a deadline.
For news on what I am doing today, including news and musings I would like to share, check out the “Critical Distance Weblog“. I am also experimenting with aggregation tools, creating a sort of Flipboard for broadcasters, but then with resources much richer than Twitter. Those experiments are on the test site
For the last seven years I have been releasing more of the professional videos I have made, including interviews with people I believe are doing interesting and creative things with emerging media. Head off to “Jonathan’s Video Vault“.
As 2014 comes into view, I am expanding a series of keynotes examining the Media Strategies Companies Need to Develop Next, focussing on new ways of digital storytelling. Most of my work is confidential commercial work. Sadly, a lot of public broadcast work that I did in the Netherlands for Radio Nederland Wereldomroep and in East Africa for various development agencies has been cut back to a point where I have decided to move on to other projects. These projects were often unsustainable – there is a point at which “paid in smiles” goes wrong. I have rekindled an interest in useful equipment and software for those in the vodcasting and podcasting business. I have done in depth analysis of what is right and wrong with hyperlocal broadcasting.
Rates – what’s it going to cost?
Our company believes in talking money up front, not after the event when there is huge room for misunderstandings. We know our own capabilities to deliver to a deadline – so that’s why we often usually charge per project – linking that to an agreed delivery date. The rates depend on the type of work, repeat business opportunities and the level of specialization that is needed.
(in case you’re wondering, the background photo left and right of this page is of Hong Kong, taken from the rather spectacular (Victoria) Peak (Chinese: 太平山, or previously- 扯旗山). It is also known as Mount Austin, being located in the western half of Hong Kong Island. One of my favourite walks if I’m passing through.)