I was in San Francisco earlier this month working on the Future Journalism Project. This is a multiplatform documentary we recently announced.
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Funny though, as I begin shooting interviews and talking to people, opportunities begin to expand. Or at least ideas of what’s possible do.
Before heading to San Francisco, the idea behind the Future Journalism Project was to create a feature length documentary and a Web site that holds all the source footage so that those interested can watch interviews with those we film in their entirety.
Now that I’m back and have discussed the project with ScribeLabs and producers here at ScribeMedia, we’re beginning to recognize that the opportunities are so much more.
Here’s what we’re now thinking. In addition to producing a traditional documentary, we want to explore the possible. This includes:
- Dedicated Web Site: the Future Journalism Project Web site will hold video of all interviews conducted. Each interview will be edited down to a series of 4-6 minute segments organized by subject matter and presented in an interface similar to video-centric sites such as YouTube, Hulu and TED. The goal is to let site visitors explore the ideas of individuals and also dive deeply into specific topics as discussed from a variety of perspectives. Mechanisms for community interactions and content submissions will be in place so that these interviews seed an ongoing conversation.
- Podcast Series: Each Future Journalism Project interview conducted by the producers will be made available and presented in its entirety as an audio podcast. Listeners can subscribe to the entire series or download podcasts with the interviewees they are most interested in hearing from.
- The Book: A book of essays written by leading thinkers is planned to accompany the project. The subjects and themes explored will echo and expand upon the video content, with authors focusing on Journalism Education, Journalism Business Models, Changing Journalism Practices and Journalism and Democracy.
The book will appear in both print and digital versions.
This may sound obnoxiously aspirational but the truth of the matter is that in this day and age there’s really no reason that the above shouldn’t be seen as starting points with pretty much any enterprise reporting activity, documentaries most definitely included.
With the technologies and services available to us it’s really just a matter of opening our minds to the possible and seizing opportunities as they present themselves.
Gear & Gadgets
What I’m doing may be near and dear to my heart but in the end it’s simply content. Open source platforms such as WordPress and Drupal will let me organize it, video service providers like Vimeo and Blip will let me present it, on demand publishers like Lulu will let me create books about it, iTunes lets me podcast it, Creative Commons lets me license it. Really, what more could a producer ask for?
These are the conversations we’re having back at the Labs, conversations guided by the opportunity of digital possibility.
That said, I hope you follow this project for two distinct reasons: one, journalism in the United States is at a crossroads and we hope to provide fodder for discussion and, two, our very open business model is something we believe in and think is applicable across most subject matter.
The video above include a fraction of the ideas we captured in San Francisco. Stay tuned as we continue our explorations.
About the Interviewees
While not everyone we talked to appear in the above video, in order of appearance those that do are:
- Dave Cohn: Founder, Spot.us.
- Dan Gillmor: Director, director of the Knight Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
- Ted Glasser: Professor of Communication, Stanford University. Co-author, Custodians of Conscience: Investigative Journalism and Public Virtue.
- Richard Gingras: CEO, Salon Media Group.
- Gabriel Sama: 2010 Knight Journalism Fellow, Stanford University.
- Mark Luckie: Multimedia Producer, Center for Investigative Reporting. Creator, 10,000 Words.
Links go to a their Web sites and/or biographies.
Cover image: San Francisco Spectator by VancityAllie via Creative Commons/Flickr.