Citizen Media Watch

oktober 23rd, 2008

12seconds.tv brings citizens' voices to established media

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

12seconds.tv, a lifestreaming/commentary/microblogging service in video format currently in beta, is becoming a popular tool for bringing people’s opinion to established media sites. The site’s built on really short video clips (12 seconds, duh!) recorded by webcams or cellphones. Quick and simple ways to publish oneself, and the time restriction takes away some of the prestige.

Today the BBC is collaborating with the site by sponsoring the feature called ”the 12second challenge”, a daily question that users reply to. Users get to reply to the question ”Economic downturn – how bad can it get? Give some examples.” The replies may then appear on BBC TV.

Further, 12seconds.tv today announced to its users plans to involve them in extensive coverage of the US election day.

In an email to the service’s users, the 12seconds team writes:

Citizen Journalism is pretty important for the health of a democracy. For this reason, we’re going to put a lot of effort into Election Day. Where appropriate (and legal) we’d like 12ers covering reactions, parties, exit polls and emotions on November 4th all over the world. We’re assembling a team of people and will feature their content on Election Day.


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juni 10th, 2008

YouTube gets new citizen media channel – and beef over censorship

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

Going through old posts on Beta Alfa’s blog, I found a post about YouTube’s new Citizen Media channel, Citizen News. They’ve appointed a News Manager and aim to collect news from citizen sources in one place, as a citizen news and interviews channel.

News Manager Olivia M calls out:

So here’s where I turn to you guys for help! If you see examples of fellow YouTubers doing great work in journalism and reporting, please let me know. If you’re a citizen journalist yourself, tell me how YouTube could better serve you. I want to hear how you guys envision news on YouTube and what you’d like to see. My ultimate mission is to make the site a go-to destination for news on the web.

A good ambition, for sure. But after 18 text replies, Olivia hasn’t yet got back to the users commenting her post. And with comments as this one, dated May 26, I feel it’s urgent that she should, if she wants this effort to be taken seriously:

We are very concerned about YouTube’s implementation of geolocational censorship in Thailand and elsewhere. How do you intend to distribute real news to its intended audience without being compromised by YouTube’s secret agreement with Thai government? Freedom Against Censorship Thailand (FACT)

Wishing Olivia and the YouTube the best of luck with the initiative, and hoping to see a bit more interaction with the users.


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september 18th, 2007

Traditional media steps out on YouTube

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

Swedish state television (SVT) now has a YouTube channel. Previously Norway’s state tv has established itself on YouTube too, along with the BBC, writes Martin Jönsson. Jönsson calls it a fumbling effort on SVT’s behalf, though. He writes (my translation):

It is of course too early to write a review, other than that it’s a good thing that SVT has understood that they can’t dictate the viewers’ options, but need a more open attitude. Most importantly, SVT needs to understand that they can’t have a YouTube channel that works as a branch of the press department, with trailers of upcoming shows only. There is a need for an active editor: someone who can find the gems in the daily production and publish them.
If they don’t do that, the viewers will do it themselves, and then the point of the channel is lost for SVT.

I’m inclined to agree. This first effort is a start, but it doesn’t take them a very long way. Yet I can’t even imagine how this step is perceived in the concrete bunker in which the SVT is housed. To many people there I’m sure it’s a revolution, and I suspect they are not all happy about it. Old organizations are usually not the fastest movers.


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september 5th, 2007

André is a Geek Movie Director – and with 1000 fan club members, he'll get a tattoo to prove it

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

André HedetoftA young Swedish guy is setting an example for how upcoming film directors could work online. André Hedetoft is going to make a low-budget superhero internet series, and he’s using blogs and social networking sites to get the funding and the buzz needed to get going.
A couple of months ago, André posted a challenge on YouTube. He said that he’s started a fan-club for himself. If a thousand people would join he would not only start the production of his internet series ”The Extraordinaries”, but also get a tattoo with the words ”Geek movie director”.
Yesterday André got his member no. 1000, and I got a chat with him about his future. This interview is also available in Swedish on Bloggvärldsbloggen.

Congratulations André!
– Thanks! Never in my life did I think 1000 people who support me and are genuinely interested to know more about my projects would sign up. But at the same time I knew I would never give up.
How are you going to celebrate?
– By tattooing Geek Movie Director on myself, for real! Also I’ll make a special video for members only.
Tell me more about the tattoo. Where will you put it?
– It will be my life-long promise to one day become the obvious geek movie director. I’ll place it somewhere visible, probably on my arm.
What’s your background? What got you into film-making?
– It started when I was born 7 weeks early, in an elevator. I spent a lot of time sick in bed while growing up. There I fell in love with story-telling through the superheroes in comic magazines. Then, when I saw Jurassic Park at age 11, scared and squeezed in between my parents, I knew I wanted to become a movie director. To take people places, to make them experience emotions and adventures they might not experience in their daily life.
What does the term Geek movie director mean to you?
– For me it’s about combining my love for nerd culture with film-making. Examples of ”Geek Movies” would be Star Wars, The Matrix, Spiderman and 300.
In which ways do you consider yourself ground-breaking in your movie-making?
– I’m not really trying to break new ground, it’s more about finding new ways to realising my dreams through my creativity. The internet has opened up a way for me to distribute and finance my films. That’s why I’m going to make a superhero series that will be viewed for free, world-wide, through YouTube, Facebook and Dvoted.
Stills from the Extraordinaries teaserWhat will Extraordinaires be about?
– ”Extraordinaries!” is about normal people without super-powers, who become the super-heroes of our time through extraordinary actions. A superhero tale you can really relate to!
You’ve said that the series will be created together with people you meet on Facebook. How will that work? So if I chat with you on Facebook, you might put me in the series? 🙂
– Definitely! The internet has opened the doors to a whole new way of making film. ”Extraordinaries!” is a low-budget project, and it will be created together with people from around the world in front of and behind the camera. If you join my fan-club at andrehedetoft.com or befriend me on Facebook, anything could happen!
When will the first episode be online?
– Production starts today, and the first episode will be out in January. Though you can already follow the pre-productioon through weekly production diaries online.
Finally, what do you wish for the most at the moment?
– Sponsors for my production diaries, so that we can really make a series to blow people off their chairs!

Read more about André and his projects on his blog. Also check out the Extraordinaries teaser below.


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maj 15th, 2007

Geo-stories, the result of the Brighton multimedia project

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

The bible found on the beachIn December I wrote about the multimedia project in Brighton which is a collaboration between the University of Brighton, Nokia, Ymogen and the BBC.
Today the result was released as Geo-stories, a set of geo-tagged photos and film clips brought together as a kind of multimedia story on this site.
If the goal was to ”create engaging stories” as Mark Hardwick put it, I’m sorry to say I am not that impressed.

Guerilla gardeningThere are two ways to explore the stories, either by clicking the ”play the story” button, in which case you get the full multimedia experience with a satellite image background, music and text, photos and video clips telling a step-by-step story. Unfortunately many of them are over-done, having music with lyrics in the background while you’re supposed to read small and quite blurred text which disappears too quickly. The most engaging story is The bible on the beach, though that one raises a lot of other questions. Nowhere do we get to know if this is a fictional or true story. If it’s true, there are a lot of objections to be made. If not, that should be made clear.
The Guerilla gardening story also works okay.

The other way of exploring the stories is by clicking the dots/signs on each story’s map. That doesn’t work well at all. The navigation leaves a lot to be asked for. It sometimes, for instance on the ”Tree Survey”, brings you away from the map of photos/video clips once you click to view one of them. In other places you still get to see the map with the geotagged photos, but if you’ve zoomed in you lose the zoom once you click on a photo and have to re-zoom (and re-zoom you have to, since the standard view of the map is so much zoomed out that the photo dots are on top of eachother). If you use the Next and Previous links there are no indications on the map which dot represent the photo your looking at.

However, it is an interesting experiment, and a first step towards using geotagging in story-telling. The main flaws in the second way of story exploration are actually due to less than perfect site building, not the way the students have carried out the projects.

With some more training, this could mature into something quite interesting. But it is important to remember that a web audience usually wants to be active – clicking the forward arrows in the multimedia needs to work flawlessly. And clicking your way around a map needs to work without the map reloading and zooming when you haven’t asked it to.

As for the ”citizen media” aspect, I see no way to contribute to the site, though it says you can comment as a registered user. That doesn’t seem to include the general public, or the link is well hidden. But I guess the citizen journalism part is referring to the students not being trained journalists.


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mars 23rd, 2007

Congdon laughingly breaks the rules of journalism – gets fatherly piece of advice

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

Interesting piece by Daniel Terdiman on Cnet about Amanda Congdon‘s refusal to live by journalistic rules/standards, even after starting working for ABC News.

there’s a bit of a kerfuffle going on right now in light of revelations that even as she has been producing stories for ABCNews.com, she has also been performing in infomercials for DuPont, one of the largest companies in the world.

Congdon herself mocks or atleast laughs at the whole thing in her blog.

ABC and HBO both approved the DuPont spots. And under the “blogger” title, which is what I am, hello? I am not subject to the “rules” traditional journalists have to follow.

Isn’t that what new media is all about? Breaking the rules? Setting our own? I see nothing wrong with doing commercials, which is what they, quite transparently, are.

I definitely think Terdiman has a point when he sends a bit of advice Congdon’s way:

That attitude is more one of someone intent on being a performer, not a journalist. And while bloggers generally don’t have to answer to anyone except themselves and, to some extent, their readers, Congdon is in a totally unique category: She is a blog-bred personality who has crossed over to the mainstream. If she was video blogging for ABC.com, that would be one thing. But her work appears on the news site, and that makes her part of the news team.

So, while she is a nice person, and seems to have good intentions, I think Congdon may well want to think about whether she wants a future in journalism. If not, then she’s fine. But if she does, she may be burning bridges which she can’t cross again.

More on Amanda Congdon’s career: From Rocketboom to the newsroom


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mars 20th, 2007

YouTube awards site now live

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

It looks like there was simply a delay in publishing the YouTube Video Awards site. It’s live now.


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mars 19th, 2007

YouTube Video Awards announced… or are they?

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

A recent news story from the Associated Press, rewritten by Swedish news agency Pressens Mediaservice and published in Dagens Nyheter, has got me quite confused.
The story is about Youtube Video Awards. According to AP reporter Jake Coyle, YouTube is announcing their video awards today, with nominees in seven categories: most creative, most inspirational, best series, best comedy, musician of the year, best commentary and most adorable video ever. The article contains an interview with YouTube’s Jamie Byrne, and some of the nominees are named (Paul Robinett and Peter Oakley).
Okay, all is fine that far. But then you click the link to the site, and get the messange ”This channel is not available.”
And if I google ”Youtube Video Awards”, all I can find are awards run by YouTube users, none that are actually on YouTube’s site.

So what’s going on? Has YouTube decided to wait before announcing the awards? Has the reporter got something wrong? Does anybody have information?


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mars 13th, 2007

Al Gore brings Current TV to the UK and Ireland

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

Al Gore. Photo: Current TVCurrent TV, the interactive tv network founded by Al Gore and Joel Hyatt in 2005, has now launched its UK version. With air time on both Sky and Virgin Media platforms in the UK and Ireland, the channel can add 10 million homes covered to its 40 million in the US.
Company chairman Al Gore explained to the Associated Press what he sees as the thing that sets Current TV apart from other channels.

Gore said Current TV was designed – to democratize the medium of television and open it up to voices, so people can join the global conversation.
Mainstream television, he says, is a one-way conduit, and – a conversation that shuts out individuals begins to get a bit stale.
Gore and his co-founder Joel Hyatt bill Current TV as – television for the Internet generation of tech-savvy 18-to-34 year olds who demand interactivity and, it seems, have short attention spans.

In connection with the launch, Current TV announced a contest where three winners get to have lunch with Al Gore in London. It’s about shooting what Current TV calls a pod – a 3-5 minute ”non-fiction video that tells a story, profiles a character or place, and/or shares an idea” – and uploading it to the current.tv site.

A third of the content on Current TV is made up by pods like this. The content is very segmented – here’s a sample hour:

Sample hour

As you can see, Current TV also partners with Google. And they’ve put extra effort into making people with a background in journalism contribute to the site and tv channel through its Current Journalism program.

”Welcome to UK and Ireland”, writes US current.tv blogger Amanda Zee, who reports that the UK team has been working hard to make the launch.

I’ve only been over here for four days, but the team at Current UK has been working toward this for months, seemingly non-stop. No matter what time I’ve been in the San Francisco office, there’s always someone in the London one available to answer questions — and if you do the time-zone math, you’ll know just how crazy that is. Hopefully now they’ll have a chance to enjoy what they’ve made.


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mars 13th, 2007

MTV Movie Awards adds new category for user-generated content

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

Mark Burnett Productions, Yahoo and MTV today announced a new category at the MTV Movie Awards for user-generated content, ”Best Movie Spoof”. The clips are to be parodies of films from the past year. Submissions for the award will be collected on a microsite that is to launch on April 23.
”The ability to create and interact with user-generated content is so important to today’s audience that this show simply had to include UGC as a major element in the creative experience,” said Mark Burnett to Online Media Daily.

In addition to the movie spoof award, MTV, Yahoo and Burnett are developing a section on the site where viewers can comment on the user-generated submissions, as well as post photos and videos. Content from the site will then be integrated into the live broadcast on a ”World Wide Web Wall.”

Users will also get to vote for categories such as ”Best Kiss” and ”Best Villain”.


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