Robin Sloan, Andrew Fitzgerald – Current TV

Posted on 05. Oct, 2007 by in Broadcast, Citizen Network

Your work in networked/citizen/collaborative journalism.

Andrew Fitzgerald runs the citizen journalism program for international cable/satellite TV network Current TV. Robin Sloan is the online product strategist there (i.e. he figures out what we should do on the web). Both of us have been deeply involved in Current’s ongoing efforts to create an open, community-driven news system capable of powering a 24/7 TV network. They are efforts that have already yielded some really amazing programming (and we can share examples with anyone that’s interested) but even so, we feel we are still at the VERY beginning.
What are your goals?
Our goal is to massively expand our output of networked journalism — primarily in video but also in other formats, too — created by and targeted to global young adult audience. We think we’re doing good things now but we want to do much, MUCH more.

Notable achievements?
By using different kinds of media than other networks will contemplate, we’ve been able to assemble much more personal, authentic coverage of some of the major news stories of the past year. For instance: Instead of sending reporters and satellite trucks to Virginia Tech in the wake of the shootings there, we put together a piece combining webcam reactions from students with news footage and stills. It made for a fairly gripping & intimate account of the event.

Lesson you’ve learned (including mistakes you’ve made)
If you build it, they will not necessarily come. We have, a number of times, assumed that if we built the web architecture for citizen journalists to send in their reports, they just would. Early on, we focused too much on theory and systems, and not enough on finding ways to let people know we existed 🙂

Are you getting revenue for this? How?
Yes! Current, like other cable TV networks, is supported by its ad revenues and subscription fees.
What’s next? What do you need to get to the next level?
We want to expand & decentralize our news-gathering using our new site, — and, in the spirit of the perpetual beta, we’ll be figuring out exactly what that means as we go.
Anyone you’d particularly like to talk with.
Neil McIntosh from the Guardian, Micah Sifry, Huffington Post
people, the Sunlight Foundation folks… lots more (it’s a great
group!) but those stand out.


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