May 8, 2007

Justin Kan of JustinTV


Last week at OnHollywood I caught up with Justin Kan, creator of Justin’s been the talk of the social media world the past couple of months, especially at the Web 2.0 Expo and at OnHollywood. He wears a webcam 24/7, and will be rolling out live video streaming services for subscribing shortly.

Here’s the 3-minute video (in MPEG-4) I shot with my Nokia N93 cell phone. It’s also currently the lead video at Ourmedia.

April 23, 2007

Help us name a new politics channel

Political speech gathering

Today a few of us met in San Francisco to begin planning the contours of a new online political speech channel for the 2008 election. (Picutred from left, Dave Toole of Outhink, yours truly, Brewster Kahle of the Internet Archive, Doug Kaye of the Conversations Network and Morty Wiggins of Outhink.)

The idea is a simple one, though it will take some engineering magic to make it happen:  We see a need to help the public to engage political candidates and elected officials in a conversation around national and local issues leading up to the 2008 U.S. elections.

Toward that end, we will provide free resources, tools and a platform to help citizens to:

• take up the tools of citizen journalism to record candidates’ speeches and interviews;

•  connect with sringers who will capture live events;

• access video footage and audio files — both contemporary and archival — of candidates and elected political figures;

• annotate or remix video and audio to create their own multimedia political commentaries and news reports;

• view examples of citizen journalism and mash-ups relating to politics to see best practices and to inform their own works;

• collaborate with other digital media producers when desired;

• share their works by publishing them.

We won’t announce the project and solicit participation by those interested in the political process until we build some of the basic underpinnings of the channel on Ourmedia in a way that will make it easy to pull in videos and podcasts from other sites as well as to allow people to post channel content on their own blogs and sites.

But we thought it important to be transparent about the process and to solicit your suggestions about what we should call this project. Some of the names tossed into the hat so far (and please add your own) are:

• Remix Politics
• Political Speech
• Ourpolitics
• Read Write Politics
• 2008 Elections
• Citizen Politics
• Take Back Politics
• By the People
• Politalk
• Your nomination (if selected, we’ll credit you on the site)

This will actually be a landing page for a number of different channels, or collections of videos, podcasts and discussion boards (we’ll explain more fully what a website "channel" is in a few weeks once we map out the details). We anticipate that in many cases, people will be able to tag their videos with a name (such as remixpolitics or politicalspeech) and it will automatically show up in the channel.

I’m pretty excited about this project and look forward to making this a broad-based effort that involves bloggers from both the right and the left.

March 26, 2007

Principles of Citizen Journalism project launches


Today we’re unveiling a new project, Principles of Citizen Journalism, at the new Citizen News Network (run by the Knight Foundation) and at Dan Gillmor’s Center for Citizen Media.

I had a hand in the project, which lays out the underlying foundations of what it takes to do journalism, whether by amateurs or professionals.

"Principles" contains screencasts, slide shows, podcasts, tutorials, tip sheets and interviews with thought leaders in citizen media, including Doc Searls, Jimmy Wales, Ethan Zuckerman, Debbie Galant, Jay Rosen, Mary Hodder, Jarah Euston and many others. (See the full list of interview subjects here.) I’ve been holding back on publishing some of these video podcasts, so look for them here and on Real People Network in the next two weeks.

Here are a few of my favorite parts:

Screencast: How to correct mistakes online (Flash done by Laura Lo Forti, narration by Lisa Padilla)

Slide show: Fact-checking in citizen journalism (interviews with Amy Gahran, Brooks Jackson, Courtney Lowery).

Confessional: Professional journalists admit to some of their biggest screw-ups

We’ve released everything under a Creative Commons license (and a few works are under less restrictive licenses). Dan Gillmor has more here. As always, we want this to be an ongoing conversation, so please dive in, post comments, toss out ideas and have at it.

February 15, 2007

NPR tackles social media

Andy Carvin

At the WeMedia conference in Miami last week, I finally had the chance to meet Andy Carvin in person. Andy’s a longtime blogger, podcaster and all-around smart guy. He’s now helping National Public Radio devise its social media strategy. In this 8-minute video interview, he talks about "NPRness" and the challenges of bringing social media components into an august media organization. (Ourmedia page | watch video)

February 10, 2007

Ourmedia: Almost 2 years old

Next month it’ll be two years since Marc Canter and I started with what then was an outlandish idea: giving free hosting and bandwidth to regular people — a place where they could store and show off their videos and other media for free. Now, with 270-plus video hosting sites out there and the YouTube boys $1.65 billion richer, the idea seems like a no-brainer, but it was a bit of a shot in the dark at the time. We still have a lot of wrinkles to iron out, since we don’t have Google’s bank account behind us, but we’re making progress again, especially with our Learning Center and Open Media Directory.

Andy Carvin, who heads up NPR’s new media strategy, cornered me at Web 2.0 two days ago and just posted this video interview with me about Ourmedia, past, present and future.

February 10, 2007

When a newspaper goes loco


(Photo of Jerry Roberts, left, former executive editor of the Santa Barbara News Press, with Dan Gillmor.)

I spent the day today as a guest and participant at Newspaper 2.0, a workshop put on by Doc Searls at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Months in the making, the gathering drew 30 to 35 locals  — journalists, academics, new media publishers, attorneys — to a trailer classroom on campus here to discuss citizen journalism, news coverage in the digital age, and how newspapers need to reinvent themselves to stay relevant with a generation that trusts bloggers and social networks more than professional journalists.

What triggered the gathering, of course, was the spectacular flameout of the Santa Barbara News Press, the daily newspaper that was purchased a few years back for about $100 million by billionaire Wendy McCaw. Since last summer, nearly the entire newsroom has been fired or quit in disgust in one of the most jaw-dropping acts of self-immolation ever by a daily newspaper. For background, read this entry at SPJ, local observer Craig Smith’s Blog, or citizen media site Edhat Online, or today’s story from that newspaper down the road:

LA Times: In Santa Barbara, News-Press has become the paper of rancor. More firings, more protests: Fallout from the owner’s showdown with her staff runs deep. Excerpt:

McCaw has filed a lawsuit against Fullerton-based journalist Susan
Paterno over an unflattering portrait in American Journalism Review and
ordered her lawyer to send "cease and desist" letters to local small
businesses that displayed the "McCaw obey the Law" signs.

It’s a nearly wide-open media landscape down here, with the weekly Independent, a new daily paper called The Sound, and various online efforts. Doc conducted today’s workshop in the mold of the various Camp/Open Space workshops. Dan Gillmor and I kicked off things with a discussion of the latest trends in citizen media. Then we broke into ad hoc small-group sessions, such as political activism on the Internet, the role of advertising on the net, legal issues, Web video, what is news?, social networking and news, mobile and news.

Each session had its own highlights (I didn’t take notes), but the thread that ran throughout the day was a belief that newspapers play a deep and vital role in our lives, and the community has a stake in ensuring that local media — whether in print or online — have a responsibility to the public trust and not only to the whims and quirks of publishers, no matter how deep their pockets run. The group planned to continue to collaborate in the weeks and months ahead. 

Here are some photos I took today with my Nokia N93 camera phone, and I’ll post a video interview soon.