Chuck Olsen – The Uptake

Posted on 04. Oct, 2007 by in Broadcast, Hyperlocal

Your work in networked/citizen/collaborative journalism.

My work in citizen journalism includes the film “Blogumentary,” the community videoblog Minnesota Stories, correspondent reports for Rocketboom, and work on various political campaigns. Currently, I’m helping launch a video-based networked journalism project called The Uptake.

What are your goals?

Our motto is co-opted from Thomas Friedman: “Will journalism be done by you or to you?”

The Uptake aims to (1) Train video citizen journalists to cover political people and events, (2) Develop an innovative calendar that enables citizen journalists to choose and rank event coverage, and (3) Aggregate CJ video stories and create a show highlighting the most interesting CJ video.

We’re focussing specifically on the 2008 election, including the RNC in Minnesota and the DNC in Colorado.

Notable achievements?

The first presidential YouTube announcement, for John Edwards, was uploaded from my laptop.
Minnesota Stories is the winner of two Vloggies awards.
Blogumentary has screened at festivals and universities around the world.

Lesson you’ve learned (including mistakes you’ve made)

I recently used the phrase “anti-peace” in a vlog post title documenting counter-protesters at a peace march. Although there’s some truth to the phrase, it was inflammatory and upset the conservative blogging community. We quickly changed the title and apologized for the characterization. Perhaps the lesson is, “bias is often unfair.”

Are you getting revenue for this? How?

We are a 501c(4) non-profit in fundraising mode. On the small scale, we’re having a fundraising party sponsored by Drinking Liberally and getting some income licensing and syndicating our video. On a larger scale, we’re presenting our business plan to a number of large organizations and potential investors.

What’s next? What do you need to get to the next level?

We’re looking for funding to help us recruit, train, and equip citizen journalists. The “next level” is empowering our citizen journalists to create stories you won’t see anywhere else.


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