Are You Guilty of Media Malpractice?

Last week I attended Making Media Now at Bentley University, where, among other really interesting panels, I saw Andy Carvin talk about crowdsourcing. I was also really glad to hear Robert Greenwald of Brave New Films talk about making media that matters with Lisa Mullins of The World. Greenwald also screened a clip from his upcoming work on the war in Afghanistan.

Robert Greenwald, Photo Credit: Brave New Films on Flickr
Robert Greenwald, Photo Credit: Brave New Films on Flickr

When asked by Lisa Mullins to fill in the sentence, “If you’re not using new media you are. . .” he answered, “. . . guilty of malpractice.” Greenwald described the new media scene as the opposite of Hollywood: “Suddenly the gatekeepers are gone.” With decreasing costs to make media, filmmakers can create quality work with fewer people on board. Greenwald says he takes an “if you build it they will come” approach – starting with a 2-minute version of a film he wants to make, and finding an audience that will support it.

Greenwald insisted that filmmakers think creatively about marketing and distribution – reserve a short simple URL when the idea for the film strikes, distribute short web clips if you can’t get a feature length doc on the air, collaborate with groups that will promote or financially contribute to the film, and, my favorite quote: “Think about it not as a microphone, but as a conversation.”

Obama Considers Options for FCC Chairman

Ethernet Switches Image from twenty_questionsBusinessWeek reports that President-Elect Obama’s transition team is hard at work considering options for FCC Chairman.

“The new Administration is expected to give greater prominence to emerging providers of communications products and services, such as Google (GOOG)—a departure from the Bush Administration, which has tended to favor traditional providers such as AT&T (T).”

This is not unexpected, as Barack Obama has gone on record before supporting net neutrality, but it is certainly good news for internet companies and the new media producers who rely on them.

Governing in a Web Savvy World

HELLO, MR. PRESIDENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Image from On Bradstreet’s PhotostreamAs if in answer to my last post, it seems that the office of the President Elect has just rolled out, a site not dissimilar from the original Obama campaign website, but dedicated to the lead-up to the January 20th inauguration.

Thus far, the blog only has one post, but there is a wealth of information on Obama and Biden’s plans for their administration. You can even send in “Your Vision” and “Your Story” about the campaign. The word that leaps to mind is “transparency.” While our government is required to release information to us about its activities (according to the Freedom of Information Act), this is an entirely new approach to creating a flow of information. We’ll have to see how far this extends into the actual term in office – but it will be very interesting to watch.

Post-Election Roundup

Barack Obama: A mosaic of people Image from tsevis’s Photostream

Tuesday night, as I skyped into Teague’s election night party taking place a few hundred miles from my own living room. . . two things hit me: (1) I’m a dork for using skype to attend someone’s party and (2) That won’t be true in 2012.

Right now, across the country, pundits are figuring out exactly what “lessons” we should learn from this election. The biggest lesson of all? Smart media is here to stay. The NY Times places a heavy emphasis on the role of the internet in this race. I feel the best way to sum up the “sea change” is that whereas in 2004, there was a campaign, and a campaign on the internet, today, the campaign lives through the internet. Technology is moving faster than the election cycle. It’s foolish to think that in four years, kids will still think that YouTube is cool. The internet isn’t just a nifty gadget, it’s a country unto itself – and if you don’t know the right customs and etiquette – you’ll get laughed out of the game.

The big question now is whether President Barack Obama (wow, I will never get tired of typing that), will continue to use social media to govern. Tweets from senior staff? A presidential YouTube channel? The possibilities are pretty endless – it’s all a question of how the Obama administration (again, never gets old!) will choose to engage with constituents.

What kinds of information do you want from the federal government? How do you want them delivered? Now that this election is over, what do you want to say to the people about to take power?

Stop Prop 8 Ads from being served in Adsense

Vote No on Prop 8 Image from HBC4511Several websites have reported unwanted advertising from Google Adsense from the “Yes On 8” campaign supporting the banning of gay marriage in CA.

Here is the quick fix to make sure this doesn’t happen on your site:

  1. Log into Adsense
  2. Click “AdSense Setup”, then “Competitive Ad Filter”
  3. In the appropriate text box, add “” to the list of disallowed domains.

That’s it. Your account should not serve any more ads from the “Yes On 8” campaign. There are however, other campaigns that could still place advertising on Prop 8. You can add more domains to the competitive ad filter in the same way. If you know of more pro Prop 8 domains using AdSense, lets us know in the comments.

Now go vote!

PBS Vote 2008: Not Just for Television Any More

The Producer tipped me off to PBS Vote 2008, a spot where PBS is culling together the best of their documentary films, news coverage and web tools on the ’08 election, and presenting it to PBS viewers like you.

My favorite of these is a game called Budget Hero:

Play Budget Hero

You get to play “cards” like “Bring Troops Home Now” that change how much money the government spends, then watch your budget play out over time.

If you’re trying to find a source to help you follow everything that’s happening up ’til November, this seems like the place to go!

Sean Tevis runs for Kansas State Rep, XKCD Style

Sean Tevis
Image from
Sean Tevis is running for Kansas State Representative. He needs to raise $26,000 by July 28th. He plans to do this by enticing 3000 individuals to donate $8.34 each on the internet (plus asking his 2 wealthy friends for $500 each).

As of this posting, 2,326 have already donated. If you read his XKCD style campaign story, you will probably understand why.

Running for Office: It’s Like A Flamewar with a Forum Troll, but with an Eventual Winner

Tevis’s plea references numerous internet memes, and communicates his serious geek cred, while simultaneously covering the major elements of his platform. It is entertaining and informational and for several hours today the site was totally slammed. This is a grassroots approach gone viral. I would not be surprised if the majority of donors hail from outside Tevis’s district.

The success of this political ad campaign is not achieved by a large amount of money spent, but in intelligently engaging and entertaining a target audience, and delivering a call to action: For $8.34 you can be part of this event. See Palindrome’s comments on the desire to be part of a communal experience.

Check out Tevis’s site, where if you donate $500, they’ll “send you a limited edition campaign t-shirt, a coffee mug with the Kansas flag on it, and a DVD video from Sean Tevis’ mom telling you how wonderful you are, because you are.”