steev at detritus.net
Mon Jul 9 19:47:37 UTC 2007
Hi everyone on all 3 of these lists.
I started something with my blog post a few days ago, and discussion
started on imc-us and i didn't see it because I had disabled delivery
for that list while in Germany last month after so much traffic about
the USSF started coming in.
So, now I'm going to wade in. I'm surprised by how little is known
about Indymedia Newsreal so I'm going to start with a few details of
how it has worked in the past, what the status is now, and then respond
to some ideas that have been brought up so far on imc-us and imc-video.
apologies if this seems long...
First, we're talking about "Indymedia Newsreal", but since there is an
Oceania Indymedia Newsreal and there (used to be) a Europe Newsreal
(which I just found out has stopped recently), it's also known as the
U.S. Indymedia Newsreal. The general idea is a monthly survey of local
activism and struggles, covered by indymedia participants. It's a
half-hour program made up of submissions of short segments from
videoactivist producers from around the nation and occasionally beyond.
At first segments were usually a maximum of 5 minutes but since I
became editor we opened it up to longer pieces of up to 10 minutes or
even slightly longer in order to encourage more submissions. Free
Speech TV pays each producer $50 per segment.
The program is aired on Free Speech TV and also sent to subscribers
around the country. Subscribers usually show the program at local
screenings, and some arrange for their local cable access channel to
air it as well. The program has also, in the last year at least, been
available online. For subscribers the program has been normally
available on VHS, or DVD in the last year, and some subscribers have
made special arrangements to get mini-DV copies too.
I'm not sure when it was first started but I've been involved as a
segment producer since 2003 and I became program editor in April 2006.
The editor and two other roles have historically been part of the
1. Editor - Each month recieves submissions from segment producers, in
4 possible formats: mini-DV, data disc, DVD, or, if neccessary, online
(but this is a last resort, see my comments below about
broadcast-quality). Selects from submissions what to use and produces
a 28-minute program each month from them, adding intro, interstitials,
and closing credits. Sends a copy of the program on mini-DV tape to
FSTV, another tape and (since my tenure began) a DVD version to the
dubber. Uploads (since my tenure) a downloadable file to
video.indymedia.org (or recently, since that site has been disabled, to
my own server). Posts (since my tenure) the runsheet to the
imc-satellite list and the imc-video list.
2. Outreach coordinator - gets the word out that the project exists and
encourages people to submit segments, and encourages IMCs and other
organizations to subscribe. Also has been a liason with FSTV to make
sure segment producers receive contracts so they can be paid. I
believe that until spring of 2006 this role was always filled by an
FSTV intern or staffperson, which made the latter task relatively easy.
Starting in spring of 2006, the Outreach Coordinator stopped work at
FSTV, and soon after, he (de facto) quit working on Newsreal, and was
never replaced. I've been trying to do these duties as well as the
editing but there really should be a separate person or persons
involved to do them.
3. Distribution coordinator/dubber - receives mini-DV tape from the
editor (and starting with me being editor, a DVD as well). Makes VHS
and DVD copies (subscribers can elect to get one or the other),
receives subscription fees from subscribers.
Pepperspray Productions in Seattle has been the dubber and distributor
for a couple of years now at least. However, I have not heard from
them in several months and so have no idea what the current situation
is, like how many subscribers there are, who they are, how many are
electing to get DVDs and how many VHS, etc, although I've written them
repeatedly to try to re-establish contact.
So, that's the way it's been, which is not to say any of it has to
continue that way. Now on to some thoughts on what has been said on
1. I agree that outreach is important, in fact i think it's definitely
key. As mentioned above, we don't really have an outreach person for
the project, so if someone is interested, let me know! In general I
think local IMCs need to be regularly approached so that people keep
being reminded that the project exists. Also I think if the newsreal
site were modernized a bit and had an RSS feed that was syndicated on
video.indymedia and us.indymedia that would be helpful too.
Right now a core group of maybe 4 or 5 people regularly contribute
segments, with occasional others here and there. That's definitely not
enough. I'm not sure what is stopping people from submitting. I would
love to hear from past contributors any complaints they have that have
caused them to not continue to contribute (didn't get paid by FSTV fast
enough? not enough feedback? can't afford postage? what is it?).
2. The submitting by uploading idea is very nice, but highly compressed
files are still not really broadcast quality or even
screening-in-a-little-neighborhood-micocinema quality, and a lot of
people don't have the means to upload larger files. Some contributors
don't even know how. (and I should point out that, though the idea of
IVDN was for people to upload high-quality files, I haven't very often
found them to be present on the site... there's even a bunch of stuff
there now that's in RealMedia format! ugh!!)
3. Editorial - It would be great if more were involved with editing,
but the logistics of it are also difficult. The European Newsreal
actually had rotating editorship, which is a nice idea but that may be
one reason it failed to continue. (?) Given the present need to still
work with snail mail and physical media, it seems like it would be
problematic to get submissions to the right place for editing every
month, on time.
Basically, the CMS-enabled, distributed, server-side process
suggestions sound awesome for someday when it all is built and
installed, but I guess since I'm so close to the project I'm looking
for short- to medium-term solutions. I know there are more indy
videographers out there, and they're making stuff... they just need to
hear more about this opportunity, I'm guessing...
It's great to hear that Chicago and Atlanta both are doing shows.
Anyone know of other IMCs that do regular TV programs?
On Jul 8, 2007, at 2:40 PM, Sasha Costanza-Chock wrote:
> Personally, I'm convinced that some of the ways to improve
> to IMC newsreel are 1. outreach (very few know about it), 2. submission
> process (upload instead of sending physical tapes) and 3. editorial
> process (a few editors look at submissions that a few people send in,
> instead of a method that successfully draws input across the whole
> I'm not at all saying this to belittle the great work that steve and
> everyone who's been involved have been doing to keep it going! I'm only
> encouraging us to think concretely about this question:
> what new tools/process could we use to select great video content from
> across the network for national airing on FSTV?
> For example: if the new video.indy CMS successfully syndicates content
> from across the network, as well as provides a spot for upload, it
> be simple to build in rating/editorial system. eg viewers rate/star
> material, that floats to the top for editorial collective to make final
> selections/sequencing for the newsreel. If we implement the subtitling
> tool that worked for g8-tv.org (or some other tool) then that will
> increase the speed and amount of international material that can be
> included. And if people are uploading high quality files (as they were
> with ivdn) we can even do really interesting stuff like let video
> editorial collective members select the clips with the editorial
> interface, then server-side assembly of the reel according to a
> Just some food for though, especially as we move toward relaunching
Steev Hise | steev at detritus.net | http://detritus.net/steev
The U.S. flag then is as much a 'floating signifier' as
other common symbols, and its meaning depends on context.
The word 'fire', for example is a great word to yell if
smoke breaks out in a crowded theater. But it's the wrong
word to yell if cops are intimidating peaceful protestors
with pointed rifles.
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