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Field Reports

Field Report: "Why Democracy?"

This report is Research Fellow Greg Fitzpatrick's examination of "Why Democracy?"—an ambitious multi-platform, multi-country public broadcasting project—demonstrates the opportunities and challenges for public media born in a broadcasting environment to engage publics across global and digital divides.


Field Report: OneWorld's Virtual Bali

While social networks and virtual worlds have largely been used for entertainment and personal interaction, they have at times demonstrated the potential to serve as powerful platforms for public media. This field report assesses a project that involved the use of a commercial virtual world, Second Life, and a niche nonprofit social network, OneClimate.net, by a nonprofit media producer, OneWorld UK. By operating a public forum from the 2007 U.N. Climate Change Conference via these platforms, OneWorld was able to expand participation in the conference and create an ongoing conversation among members of a global public interested in environmental issues. While the number of online participants was limited, this experiment drew significant press attention and served as a benchmark for nonprofit and public media uses of these online tools. The OneWorld organizers noted some skepticism on the part of both reporters and other advocacy groups, but hope their example will break down barriers as they continue to use these platforms at subsequent U.N. gatherings. Questions of scale, budget and digital divides still remain.


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.