Project 28

We are proposing a scalable project designed to be flexible in terms of time resources and open to other fellows who might be interested.

What we’d like to do is more about building tools for arts reporting than doing arts reporting proper. The concept is to talk to specific people who are working on telling stories and conveying information in new ways in disciplines that aren’t particularly close to arts journalism, pump their brains for ideas and techniques that we might be able to apply to the work we do, and then condense them into short, engaging, easily disseminated videos/articles for the use of people both within the program and outside of it.

A handful of people and organizations who seem appropriate for this include:

* Mimi Ito, a UC-Irvine anthropology professor, studies new media use among kids in the US and Japan. She also works with the MacArthur Foundation, leading a national network of technology developers and educators to push for a new model of learning that uses young people’s interests and new media engagement as a driver for learning that bridges formal and informal educational settings.

* The Tiziano Project, based in L.A., is run by a photographer who recently won a Knight Foundation News Challenge grant for showing people in “conflict, post-conflict, and underreported regions [how] to report their stories and improve their lives.” It’s also gotten attention/awards from Nieman, the Gracies and the New Media Institute.

* The Hollywood Hill is a think tank trying to bring technical innovation and a sense of positive reinvention to the entertainment industry. It’s focused on developing younger leaders, with an emphasis on adapting to a digital economy as well as social activism.

* It could be great to talk to some showrunners, like Ryan Murphy or Kurt Sutter, about how they coordinate a whole lot of people to work on a single, consistent narrative and how they reach and maintain audiences in a world where the dominance of TV sets and old media has diminished.

There are plenty of other possibilities–Version? Vox Mob? Henry Jenkins? The Flud? How we envision it working down is that one or two people could speak with each of the project’s subjects, figure out how their ideas and practices could apply to arts journalism, brainstorm with the rest of the team, and then boil down the interview and ancillary material into a short video, possibly with links for further resources. We could make those videos available to Getty/Annenberg people, obviously, but we could also put them online and spread the word among the greater arts-journalism community. A two-hour interview and tour might only yield three minutes’ worth of material that directly applies to what we do–but if that’s all it takes to get a big, new idea across to us from outside our normal circles, so be it.

It’d be great to get some other skilled video editors in on this project, too. Alternately, or synchronously, we could blog or publish articles about what we’ve learned.

This is a project that could be potentially be done on a small scale, or could be significantly bigger. There’s a very broad potential range of interviewees, and many people among the Annenberg/Getty group might be interested in something along these lines.