Professor of Practice Joerg Blumtritt on Slow Media

The Digital Media and Communications major welcomes Professor of Practice, Joerg Blumtritt to Wheaton College. Joerg thinks we should consider “Slow Media” akin to food. 

Previously employed as a Professor of Interactive Media at New York University, Abu Dhabi, and CEO of blockchain solution company Datarella, Blumtritt holds a goldmine of tech knowledge. 

In 2010 Blumtritt created the Slow Media Manifesto along with Benedikt Köhler and Sabria David. The manifesto has since been translated into 25 languages. 

The Slow Media Manifesto came about after Blumtritt’s many years of working in mass media. Particularly, while working at a large publishing house during the uprise of blogs he noticed that there was aggression towards independent writers and creators. 

“Working in publishing and seeing how a lot of the news was produced, it made me almost cynical. There was so much aggression from the publishing industry side towards small people doing their own thing on the internet.”

When asked if the Slow Media Manifesto applies to today’s fast-paced media like TikTok and Instagram Reels, Blumtritt challenges the idea, suggesting that “fast” media has always existed. Just because something is old, does not mean it is necessarily slow, and visa-versa. Blumtritt references the fact that people are still very invested in long-form TV shows. “If you look at the content of the successful shows on these platforms, they are actually not serial. They are just three very, very long stories, arbitrarily cut into pieces.” 

Growing up in Munich, Germany, during the 1980s Blumtritt witnessed the push for fast food in Germany and neighboring countries. He compares the advance of fast food to the media landscape: 

“In the 1980s, when I was a child there was a reaction against fast food in Europe. And, [the concept of] ‘slow food’ starts. Food in Europe wasn’t necessarily good. Even in Italy, there was a lot of ‘bad’ food, but then suddenly, people realized that we need to do something to keep what’s good. And, good food was reinvented at that time. And we thought…why not go a similar way for media?”

In today’s media world, Blumtritt doesn’t denounce the “fast foods” of the internet like TikTok and Instagram. “Not all is bad there and some is artsy,” he notes. Blumtritt recognizes that it is TikTok content that made people step back to create room and desire for longer-form content that was not possible before. 

As for his plans for the new Digital Media and Communications major, Blumtritt hopes to create an experience that encourages students to partake in and create thought-provoking “slow” media to better understand fast media. 

“I would love to work on the foreground. That is something that I find absolutely meaningful to develop in a good way. And maybe there are people who can find a way into this, like finding alternatives for good journalism.”

  • Written by Madison Morin ’24