The excellent performers stepped up on the stage in the auditorium to strut their respective stuff. Allow me to take you back to the early 70s.
The representative from Television led off with sights and sounds trumpeting the virtues of the tube. He raved about the coming of age for television. Celebrities such as Walter Cronkite were riding high. Network television was in its prime.
The representative from Radio zeroed in on the motorist market. When you drove you turned on the radio. Almost everyone did. News was instant with most frequent updates, beating out the 6 o’clock newscast on television. He made the point most enthusiastically.
The representative from Advertising gave an impressive demo on how to get attention, hold the audience and deliver the message. In earnest, he painted the art as a respectable profession. The success of a business, any business depended on it. He announced that it was advertising that turned the wheel of commerce.
The representative from Journalism had a bit of a hard time in defending the virtue of an aging technology. The press was losing its shine to the electronic media. Newspaper as a primary medium had run its course. The future looked uncertain, if not bleak. He made a case for in-depth reporting and investigative journalism. All in all, it boiled down to a gallant effort. The audience seemed unmoved.
The purpose of the plenary session, I gathered, was to help us, first year students of Communication Arts, choose a major. We had a general desire to do something in the glamorous field. No one seemed to have been able make up his mind.
In hindsight, we can now see the dramatic advances in communication technologies. Computer and computer network ushered in a new age of ubiquitous and instantaneous communication on a global scale. The lifestyle that was based on local communication is giving way to digital communications that know no boundaries. Hamilton, for example, joins other cities on the global network. Canada’s steel town is going beyond steel and its future depends on how it performs on the digital frontier.
Innovation ought to open Hamilton up to unprecedented opportunities in re-defining, re-jigging and re-inventing its economy along with its lifestyles.
I am urging people in Hamilton to go for it. The stage is ready and let the ambitious put on their shows.