CBC has gone zine. It’s a word that was adopted by the Internet in the late 1990s (or five thousand years ago in Web years) after years of being small alt-magazines with limited distribution and even more limited funds. It is a modern-day example of Habermas’s notion of a public sphere, using an alternative form of press to reach a group of people with the same interests and motivation for speaking up and speaking out.
However, this particular zine, Generation Why, is a disappointing chimera*, or representative of one thing when it’s really another. As I was leafing through the magazine, I saw an interesting blend of media, blogs, articles, youtube videos, and thought that it had the potential to be a cyber-public-sphere for Generation Y. However, if you look at the links, they are all CBC content, most of the writers for the first edition are CBC reporters.
It’s like the CBC is cybertyping, but in an ageist way. Rather than assuming that people in their early 20s would go online and read the news as any other consumer, they seem to be using this “fun hip electronic magazine” as a way of drawing attention to their news stories. I personally find it, um, patronizing? Is it generalizing to a whole generation to think that one’s attention span needs short, digestible sentences to understand news?
*Chimera was a term used by our visual design professor at MSVU, Maurice Michaud, who taught us that some publications use the format and preconceptions that go with them to disguise messaging. An “informational” brochure can actually be selling something, a video PSA can be cleverly disguised as a news report.