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Field Report: New Muslim Cool: Engaging Stakeholders in the Filmmaking Process

 The Center for Social Media's field reports profile innovative media for public knowledge and action. Published as part of the Center’s Ford Foundation-supported Future of Public Media project, these case studies explore how publics form around participatory and multiplatform media projects. This field report is the last one in a series of six conducted between 2007 and 2009. CSM Research Fellow Nina Keim analyzes how the feature-length documentary film New Muslim Cool engaged stakeholders in the filmmaking process, resulting in a film that inspires young American Muslims, promotes an interfaith dialogue and helps users overcome prejudices about the Muslim youth community in the United States.


Field Report: Building Social Media Infrastructure to Engage Publics

This field report traces how a committed group of volunteers harnessed the micro-blogging tool Twitter to create innovative public media 2.0 experiments—first to actively engage users to report on their voting experiences in the 2008 U.S. election, and then to document their experiences of the 2009 presidential inauguration. Along the way, these two projects demonstrated how journalists and advocates can effectively leverage a range of both commercial and open source social media tools to organize, publicize and implement citizen reporting projects, creating infrastructure for related future projects. Organizers have since worked to archive and repurpose the code and collaboration materials from these efforts for use in 2009 election monitoring initiatives in India and Iran.


Field Report--Hip Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes

This field report demonstrates how a social issue documentary film campaign that radiates outward from a PBS broadcast can serve as a test bed for innovations that support civic dialog and expand the spaces and practices of public media. "Hip Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes" is a personal film that examines representations of gender roles in hip-hop and rap music through the eyes of filmmaker Byron Hurt. A hip-hop enthusiast and former college quarterback turned activist, Hurt was inspired to make the film in 1999, because he was struck by the misogyny, homophobia and violence of videos featured in a countdown on BET’s Rap City. Having earlier made a documentary on black masculinity, he decided to craft a "loving critique" that would encourage men and boys to take a frank look at hip-hop music and themselves.


Field Report: Land of Opportunity

lop5The Land of Opportunity transmedia documentary project encompasses a feature film and interactive web platform designed to foster dialogue and social impact around community (re)building in the face of crisis/disaster. In 2006, Director/ Producer Luisa Dantas started filming for the documentary (“Land of Opportunity”), which follows several individuals through the early years of postKatrina rebuilding in New Orleans. In 2012, the project evolved to include the interactive web platform (LandofOpportunity), which combines a rich archive of 1 post-Katrina reconstruction stories with multimedia content from several other communities across the country. The interactive narratives featured on the platform explore a range of places and partners facing redevelopment issues. This field report is a primer on the process of creating an interactive web-based experience after releasing a traditional documentary, as part of a greater set of tools for public engagement. This report was compiled using a series of interviews that spanned the length of production and launch of the platform, some of which were used in shorter blog posts published by the Center for Media & Social Impact. Center staff and graduate fellows conducted interviews and the LandofOpportunity production team provided research, consultation and coordination.


Public TV and Independent, Point of View Documentary

Does public TV need independent and underrepresented voices? Do independent and underrepresented voices need public TV? When WNET contemplated moving Independent Lens and POV off the prime-time schedule in December, it triggered a nation-wide protest. WNET and PBS restored the series to the schedule until May, and promised to hold a listening tour. At this public hearing, viewers, organization heads, and filmmakers talk with public TV executives.


Diversity in Documentary TV Programming in the United States: Comparing Public TV and Cable Networks

To explore distinguishing features of public television in a television ecology increasingly populated with documentary, an audit was done of documentary programs aired in 2013 across public and commercial cable services. Among prestige broadcast and cablecast outlets for social-issue documentary, public television is marked by a greater proportion of minorities among directors/producers, and for featuring minorities and women among characters central to the documentary narrative. This suggests a role for public television in a landscape increasingly welcoming to social-issue documentary. A more extensive audit is recommended.


Beyond the hashtags: #Ferguson, #Blacklivesmatter, and the online struggle for offline justice

Black Lives Matter (BLM)—ignited an urgent national conversation about police killings of unarmed Black citizens. Online tools have been anecdotally credited as critical in this effort, but researchers are only beginning to evaluate this claim. This research report examines the movement’s uses of online media in 2014 and 2015. To do so, we analyze three types of data: 40.8 million tweets, over 100,000 web links, and 40 interviews of BLM activists and allies.


Public Media 2.0: Dynamic, Engaged Publics

Public Media 2.0Public broadcasting, newspapers, magazines, and network newscasts have all played a central role in our democracy, informing citizens and guiding public conversation. But the top-down dissemination technologies that supported them are being supplanted by an open, many-to-many networked media environment. What platforms, standards, and practices will replace or transform legacy public media?

This white paper lays out an expanded vision for “public media 2.0” that places engaged publics at its core, showcasing innovative experiments from its “first two minutes,” and revealing related trends, stakeholders, and policies. Public media 2.0 may look and function differently, but it will share the same goals as the projects that preceded it: educating, informing, and mobilizing its users.


The Future of Public Media: FAQ

This FAQ anchors our research and discussions, by defining a “public” as a role that people in a democratic society play. They play that role using the tools and skills of communication, informed by media projects and outlets. This FAQ was developed through conversation with our peers in the participatory tradition of the “Frequenetly Asked Questions” document, an Internet-era literary form.