Multimedia can add diversity

“Multimedia has the power to reach a more diverse audience.  Mastering these new communications tools is how African Americans can ensure they will continue to have a voice in government and advance their own personal power.”

Speaking to an audience at Virginia Commonwealth University on October 10, the executive editor for Black Enterprise magazine, Derek Dingle, said the “ungovernable media landscape” means “big media no longer has exclusive dibs on deciding what’s news, what’s important.”

Dingle pointed to the coverage of the Jena 6 controversy as a perfect example.  He says that story had gone largely ignored by the mainstream media until “young people raised the profile of the case through Web sites and email.”  Dingle says, “The Internet and blogs drove the discussion and the national media followed.”

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Becoming a “director’s producer”

The best television news producers will tell you that they always try to build an excellent relationship with their directors.  Producers who realize that directors are more than “button punchers and camera callers” find their shows looking better and communicating content more effectively.

But what do directors want from their producers?  Jeffrey Blount is a veteran director for NBC News.  He’s directed everything from Nightly News to Meet the Press to the Gerald Ford funeral coverage.  He spoke to a group of students and faculty at Virginia Commonwealth University on October 10 about what makes a good producer from a director’s perpective.

“Someone who’s prepared and knows where he or she wants to go,” says Blount.  He says good producers “convey their plan to the director;”  they don’t just hand over a rundown and expect the director to know what they’re thinking.

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Crowdsourcing the news

When Wired magazine first used the term crowdsourcing in 2006, it referred to “the productive potential of millions of plugged-in enthusiasts.” It didn’t take long for news organizations to take advantage of that potential to develop and report stories.

WNYC Crowdsourcing Map

The Brian Lehrer show on WNYC, the NPR station in New York, now has regular crowdsourcing projects, asking listeners to collect and share information that the station then maps online. This example–Are You Being Gouged–focuses on the wide variation in prices for basic items across the New York City area. The result is both interesting and interactive, but is the station doing enough to add meaning to the data?