Comments on: What is Civic Video? A Center for Civic Media brainstorm with Howard Blumenthal Ethan Zuckerman’s online home, since 2003 Thu, 05 Apr 2018 07:38:06 +0000 hourly 1 By: [berkman] Berkman Buzz « oracle fusion identity Sat, 03 Mar 2012 20:09:30 +0000 […] Ethan Zuckerman explores civic video [link] […]

By: Howard Blumenthal Fri, 02 Mar 2012 14:50:11 +0000 Ethan:

Before I get into specific comments and observations, a note of thanks to the people who attended our workshop. Special shout-outs to Oliver Goodenough, Peter Shane, Chris Dunne, and Jeff Kunken who have been helping me to figure out what MiND/WORKS ought to be, and how we ought to get there. And, to everyone attended, thanks for taking the time and contributing your ideas to a terrific conversation, one that I hope will be ongoing.

Generally, my notes match your notes, but I offer these observations:

I share your concern about the “very real tension” between desire for collective video (which is unlikely to be watched, except in special cases) and professional video (which captures more attention, but requires money and expertise). I remain fascinated by the Carmen Sandiego phenomenon, which cost about $15 million in total, and continues to resonate some 15 years after the program left the air (as recently as yesterday, I received a funny cartoon: For those who missed the original series, here’s part of a typical episode:

The discussion about engagement vs. education remains an important question. How do we establish a scope of what we ought to teach, and what people ought to learn? What’s the best way to use the new wider screen real estate to capture attention? What is the baseline for adults learning?

Another good question: in the 21st century, what does “local” mean? Is it geographically defined? Does it require physical proximity? We travel more than ever before, and we easily skip over distance with digital media (Skype, etc.) Is local your neighborhood block or your area of interest, your city, your nation, or your comfort zone?

I loved our reverse-engineering of “what works on TV” and “what works on internet video”–this deconstruction has provided me with a simple structure for project development. I promised the group some sort of visual map of these forms in multi-dimensional space. (I’m working on it.) I find the idea of a modern troubadour to be especially appealing, shudder when I realize the truth in the statement, “with Twitter, everybody’s a troubadour”) and hope to meet Erin McKeown of the Berkman Center to discuss ways in which music, storytelling, and authority can be used to capture attention as part of our MiND/WORKS planning.

Jeff Kunken offered some important ideas that should be discussed further. Certainly, his suggestion that we watch Ray William Johnson on YouTube led to a great discussion about zeitgeist–paying attention to current trends, responding quickly with our media, tagging content, optimizing for search.

Which led to a favorite topic: “There are things we actually NEED to know. And that’s not necessarily what’s popular this week.”

Peter Shane led me toward a model of concentric circles in which the innermost circle is “the show” that we produce or somebody else produces, the middle circle is public comment, and the outermost circle is a knowledgable panel of experts offering evaluation and analysis of both the show and the public comment. I suspect this is part of something good, and will use it our development.

Jake Shapiro’s suggestion of an MIT Format Lab to investigate the ways in which distribution media, technologies, audience interests and entertainment / information formats intersect. If this discussion continues, I want to be a part of it.

Several additional components that must be discussed, developed, delivered, etc.: video hyperlinking, making it possible to jump from an idea in one video to an idea in other, and also a backstory bible that allows a brief discussion about Syria to become a deeper personal investigation based upon reliable / accessible information.

Next steps? Yes, I know, I have a model to deliver. As any good creative professional, I’ve already conceptualized beyond the model to a possible project that could be a joint effort between the Center for Civic Media, PRX, Global Voices, and MiND/WORKS. Right now, I’m calling it A Day on Earth. What’s it all about? Well, a lot of it grows out of great discussions during the past two weeks with Scott McCloud, everyone who attended our workshop, Jonathan Granoff (who is, quite nobly, attempting to eliminate nuclear weapons from our planet), and our MiND/WORKS team. I believe it could become a global TV/radio/internet collaboration that ties together civic media, participation, high quality information and presentation, and, most important, a way to learn from one another as a global community.

Which is to say, I sure hope we’ve begun something good with our conversation. And I thank you all for your time.

Ethan, thanks again for the opportunity.

To reach me, the email address is

By: Civic media: i video civici e i blog su Timu « Webcartografie Tue, 28 Feb 2012 06:30:04 +0000 […] post di Ethan Zuckerman, direttore del Center for civic media del Mit, su che cosa è un video civico. Evidenzia la sfida […]