August 10, 2005

EFF announces contest winners


I was a judge, along with Susan Crawford, Mike Godwin, Xeni Jardin, and Ernest Miller, in a contest marking the Electronic Frontier Foundation‘s 15th anniversary. The EFF held a Blog-a-thon to mark the occasion, inviting people to write about what digital rights means to them, and how they became active in the movement that the EFF stands for.

Well, the winners just went up at the EFF site: most inspirational, most humorous, and best overall. Check ’em out.

August 10, 2005

Citizens do media for themselves

The wonderful Jo Twist, technology reporter for BBC News (whom I met at Gnomedex), has a writeup about Ourmedia: Citizens do media for themselves. Excerpt:

There is a big transition happening between traditional, top down media and bubble-up, grassroots, emerging media,” says JD Lasica, co-founder of, a finalist in the e-inclusion category of the UN’s World Summit Awards.

“We want to help that bottom part emerge and flourish. Technology is easier to use and cheap enough to put into the hands of almost anybody with a modest budget.”

Part of the reason is the emergence of easy-to-use, multimedia tools for self-publishing, such as blogs or podcasts.

‘Breathtakingly creative’

JD Lasica’s Ourmedia is a place online where anyone can publish their own digital home movie, music, photos, or even plain old blog for free.

The “free” bit comes courtesy of support from The Internet Archive project. Its mission has been to document and keep a slice of digital life of how the web has evolved over the last decade.

It’s a godsend for people who cannot afford spiralling bandwidth costs. JD hopes to take advantage of peer-to-peer file-sharing distribution in the future.

Since its inception in March 2005, not-for-profit Ourmedia has attracted more than 31,000 international members, and now plays host to 22,000 separate pieces of media, from travelogs to tastes of family life.

More than half is video, with video blogs – or vlogs – proving highly popular. Some of it is of “breathtakingly creative”, says JD.

It encourages people to upload and publish the content using Creative Commons licences, which means they can decide the terms of use for their material. It also encourages a “remix culture”.

“Right now our lead video is blind banjo player in Tibet someone had filmed. This is what we were hoping for; to bring us all into one media village.

“It shows that creativity and entertainment does not have to come from Hollywood and big media, but that we all have this innate talent to tell stories and to entertain each other,” says JD. …

August 9, 2005

Thumbs up for Current TV


I’ve been super-busy so haven’t given the launch of Current TV as much attention as it deserves. The Al Gore-led network has exceeded my expectations so far.

Current TV is to the current youth generation what MTV was to the ’80s generation. It may not ultimately have the same impact, but I think it will — as a catalyst driving the widespread adoption and dissemination of grassroots video.

This is what MTV should be today, but isn’t.

Some of the creditable segments (do we really have to call them “pods”?) so far include a look at cliff-jumping (seen twice); Parkour, a silly pastime that involves jumpiing off of structures or natural landscapes (seen three times); egg donors; a couple of bands talk about their music; hip-hop in Surinam; how Joe Aleman, an ex-con, is working with HomeBoy Industries to turn LA gangbangers around; and breastfeeding (yes, the mom’s nipple was pixelated).

I could do without the mystic prattle of Deepak Chopra, who practically owns the mainstream media. But more than 80 percent of what I’ve seen is eminently watchable.

Would be cool if Current TV took a few more chances on cutting-edge or raw material that is marginalized by the mainstream media. Where are the poliitcal pieces from the far left or far right? Where are the trippy videoblogs we see on Ourmedia?

But Current is worth a look (it’s on channel 366 on satellite’s DirecTV). TiVo it to skip through the commercials and you’ve got one of the best viewing experiences this summer.

August 9, 2005

Watch or publish videos with YouTube

Raymond Kristiansen of Norway, an Ourmedia moderator, pointed me to YouTube, a new grassroots video site. These kinds of sites have been springing up like April dandelions since the launch of Ourmedia.

YouTube is simplicity personified. You upload a video and it turns it into one format only: Flash.

I just uploaded this video of Halley Suitt talking about building your blog chops. I’m not crazy about the watermark in the lower right corner, but that’s marketing for ya.

Raymond made this screencast of how you upload a movie using YouTube. (I’m a sucker for screencasts.)

August 9, 2005

6 videos from BlogHer

I was under the weather last week; otherwise, I would have had these up sooner. Here are the last seven short video interviews I conducted at BlogHer 10 days ago. These are all worth a look. (By the way, 83 percent of the attendees were women):

Halley Suitt

Halley Suitt, the charming, funny and wise proprietor of Halley’s Comment (among many other blogs), talks about building your blog chops to get noticed in the blogosphere. (Ourmedia media | play video)

Jay Rosen

Jay Rosen of PressThink discusses the two main takeaways he got out of BlogHer: the conference as an affirmation of the increasing importance of blogs among women, and the way many bloggers are dealing with concerns about security. (Ourmedia page | play video)

Lauren Gelman

Lauren Gelman, associate director of the Center for Internet & Society at Stanford Law School, gives a brief summary of what bloggers need to know about how the law can affect them and their blogs. (Ourmedia page | play video)

Jarah Euston

Jarah Euston talks about her year-and-a-half-old citizen journalism site, FresnoFamous. (Ourmedia page | play video)

Courtney Lowery

Courtney Lowery, managing editor of New West, talks about citizen journalism and BlogHer. (Ourmedia page | play video)


Jory des Jardins, who began blogging a year ago, talks about how she and her two co-founders pulled together BlogHer. (Ourmedia page | play video)

Here are the five BlogHer videos I posted earlier:

Mabel Yee on the ‘echo boomers’ effect (Ourmedia page | play video)

Heather Armstrong (Dooce): Getting naked on the Internet (Ourmedia page | play video)

Heather Schlegel of kwikreel points out that women bloggers are not hard to find. (Ourmedia page | play video)

Arieanna Foley of Blogaholics Consulting discusses some of the ethical and privacy issues raised at the BlogHer session on citizen journalism. (Ourmedia page | play video)

Lisa Stone discusses the BlogHer conference she co-organized. (Ourmedia page | play video)

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