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New Muslim Cool Completes Future of Public Media Project's Field Report Series

We are pleased to release the final report in our field report series, New Muslim Cool: Engaging Stakeholders throughout the Filmmaking Process. Published as part of the Future of Public Media project, these field reports explore how publics form around participatory and multiplatform media projects. New Muslim Cool is the last field report in a series of six conducted between 2007 and 2009. In it, 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.

Here is an overview of the complete series:

1. Hip Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes
The field report by Barbara Abrash demonstrates how a social issue documentary film campaign can serve as a powerful channel to foster civic dialogue and expand the spaces and practices of public media. By implementing a far-reaching outreach campaign, the documentary film Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes connected positively with audiences that public broadcasting rarely reaches and was able to bring diverse groups together to discuss contentious issues, such as the depiction of masculinity and gender violence in hip hop music videos. In addition, the documentary film stands as a cutting-edge model for overcoming copyright issues by applying fair use practices.

2. OneWorld’s Virtual Bali
While social networks and virtual worlds have largely been used for entertainment and personal interaction, this field report demonstrates their potential to serve as a powerful platform for public media. The non-profit organization OneWorld created an area in Second Life as a space for interaction and discussion. Becoming the first space dedicated to climate change in this virtual world, OneClimate expanded participation and created an ongoing conversation among members of a global public interested in environmental issues. The virtual world platform has been proven to be effective as a way of bringing stakeholders together to discuss ideas about social issues, thereby setting an example for future public media projects.

3. Why Democracy?
In this field report, Greg Fitzpatrick examines how public service broadcasters and documentary film producers successfully teamed up to bring the ambitious multi-platform, multi-country public broadcasting project Why Democracy? to life. The collaborative media project facilitated the rapid creation of networks of producers, distributors and publics, and demonstrates how crucial it is to nurture relationships and partnerships to launch an international conversation about social issues sparked by the content of documentary films.

4. Made in L.A.
This field report analyzes how the feature length documentary film Made in L.A. successfully increased community engagement in every stage of the media project. Through alliances with community activist groups and a grassroots approach to building and sustaining core audiences, the project actively engaged its community in development, outreach and distribution. Made in L.A. sets the stage for cutting-edge social issue documentary projects that successfully engage audiences and partner organizations to provoke thoughtful debates and actions.

5. Building Social Media Infrastructure to Engage Publics: Twitter Vote Report and Inauguration08
Analyzing two Web 2.0 experiments, this field report demonstrates 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. Using the micro-blogging tool Twitter, the projects applied crowd-sourcing techniques to collect and analyze user-reported voting experiences in the 2008 U.S. election and experiences of the 2009 presidential inauguration. The two projects stand as a model of how election and crisis monitoring can be implemented through active engagement of publics in real-time.

6. New Muslim Cool: Engaging Stakeholders throughout the Filmmaking Process
This field report from Nina Keim examines how Jennifer Maytorena Taylor's film New Muslim Cool engaged stakeholders throughout the entire production process. The film aims to dispel stereotypes of young Muslim Americans and promote interfaith dialogue through the story of Hamza Pérez, a Pittsburgh-based Muslim American rapper and educator. New Muslim Cool incorporated extensive input from a core group of senior advisers, including highly respected Muslim American scholars, who participated in pre-production research, post-production fine-tuning, and the film's education and outreach campaign. This resulted in successful face-to-face discussions, but more work needs to be done on social media outreach and mobilization.