January 1, 2004
My name is Michael Shaw. I am a Clinical Psychologist; writer; analyst of visual journalism; interpreter of political images; and the curator of this project called BAGnewsNotes.
"The BAG" offers a daily semiotic analysis of news and political images from a political, cultural or psychological point of view, and is also a platform for original social photography and photojournalism. BAGnewsNotes is closely followed by the political blogosphere, the photojournalism community and is widely referred to in university visual studies and communications programs.
My clinical training — which is woven into my commentary — involves the psychology of character and the everyday presentation of self. My research has dealt primarily with symbolic expression, the process of visual narrative, and the psychological function of metaphor.
In addition to my private practice, I spent nine years as the consulting psychotherapist at The Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc), the highly-regarded architecture and design program in Los Angeles. For five years before that, I served the same function at Otis College of Art and Design. Counting both experiences, I have spent thousands of hours collaborating with students and design professionals in their creative process, as well as participating in the formal and informal analysis and critique of visual images.
My experience with cyberspace began in the early eighties. Working for a publishing technology firm in New York, I was involved in developing some of the first on-line, interactive graphic content designed specifically for the public. It was from these early services (know at the time as "videotex") that the html standard emerged, and new communication companies, such as AOL and Yahoo, first took shape.
The BAGnewsNotes blog began in June 2003. If you're interested in where the name came from, the current site grew out of a civics tool/visual experiment/political cartoon called BAGnews. Beginning in mid-2004, however, spurred by perceived peculiarities in the photo coverage of the Bush-Kerry presidential campaign, I turned my attention to this new "discipline" — the visual analysis of political images.
Besides this site, I have been a regular contributor to the Huffington Post since September '05, writing a blog feature called "Reading The Pictures."
BNN has received important recognition over the years, including:
*Webby Awards finalist for Best Political Blog (along with Huffington Post and Columbia Journalism Review) — 2006.
* Winner — 2006 Koufax Award — Best Post.
*Winner — First Gilliard Grant of Merit for Excellence in Journalism and News Blogging — Netroots Nation 2008.
*Credential blogger — 2008 Democratic National Convention.
I am always interested in comments, feedback and post ideas. To reach me, please write to: openbag AT bagnews (dot) com.