Tag Archives: Citizen Journalism

Katie Couric’s Social Media Path

About a month ago, I connected Katie Couric and Brian Solis for a conversation about Katie’s push into new media which started in 2008. What ensued was a discussion about the challenges, the opportunities and the areas of exploration they both think about when it comes to the convergence of “new” and “old” media. What I like to call – present media.

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West Wing Week: Direct-to-Voter Videos From The White House

I was completely intrigued when I stumbled upon this new weekly staple of the Obama Administration – “West Wing Week” – a six minute video, packed to the max with b-roll, substance and soundbites of how the President spent the last week. I have yet to see anything as pithy and tightly produced by the news outlets in the Press Corps targeted at to the 18-35 year old demographic – a demo growing in influence and worth an estimated $200 billion in consumer spending. Or, for the political world, a demo with the power to deliver enough votes to say, swing a reelection campaign. Smart man our President is.

The video only shows about 2,685 views on YouTube. (The White House does not release traffic data for WhiteHouse.gov.)

Posted via web from ericaamerica’s posterous

My Afternoon with the Newspaper

Saturday I took a step back – from my laptop – to catch up with the newspaper. I chose the New York Times and forked over $2.12, a small price to pay for what turned out to be three hours of reading, writing and ideating. Each time I wanted to pull out my iPhone, I dug deeper into Sections A and B, determined to have an uninterrupted afternoon with what Devin Coldewey, a CrunchGear blogger, called “delayed media,” aka the ink newspaper.

Delayed media is 1/3 of the concept that is part of the “present media triumvirate” theory coined by Coldewey. Helen Thomas once told me that the benefit of the print newspaper is that you end up reading much more than you would have if you were searching for something online. I found that to hold true during my experiment. I read about how labor shortages in China will make their exports more expensive and I learned that Citigroup is about to launch a PR campaign aimed at revamping their image with Wall Street and Washington. Neither of which I got from my Twitter feeds and the cable news loop that I typically keep on during the days.

While I love the newspaper (I starting delivering them in fifth grade), they haven’t kept up with the pace of the web and so they haven’t kept up with me. Even though I have worked to keep them in my life, I know that the average newsreader hasn’t. And I don’t blame them. But I am trying to figure out a way to apply the best of traditional media (epitomized by the delayed media) and combine it with the best tactics and tools of the new. Continue reading

Goodbye, K Street. Hello, Journalism.

This is my second to last day at Spectrum. I am leaving with a six-month nest egg, two job leads and one burning desire to stitch journalism up – from the inside.

A few of my trusted confidants, including my Dad and Helen Thomas, advised me throughout 2009 to stick with my day job and ride the recession out. Well, I took that advice, and as a result spent twelve months packing away knowledge and pennies, creating digital case studies for my portfolio and simultaneously starting the process of graduating my brand from “EricaAmerica Citizen Journalist” to “Erica Anderson, Network Producer/Reporter.

I have a driving instinct that now it’s time to put 100 percent into this ambition to help rebuild what I believe to be the most important industries to the health of our imperfect nation – journalism.

So stay tuned for what’s next; who I target and who I meet with, how I used social media to land opportunities and what the outcome will be.

One thing is for sure, now, more than ever, it is time to step into the fray and make the future happen.


I got a call on my way into work this morning from a producer at CNN who was reviewing my iReports that I submitted last night. We had a conversation about the amount of time I spent at the National Equality March and the range of people I interviewed – and then that was that. At about 3:00PM another producer then reached out to me and asked me if I was up for a live interview with CNN Reporter, Nicole Lapin. Can you guess what my answer was?

Here is a link to the official CNN video. The embed is below.

Equal Rights: More Than a March

I just got back from the National Equality March that is taking place right now in Washington. Thousands of GLBT equality advocates have descended on Northwest D.C. and are in full force as they march from McPherson Square to the steps of the Capitol.

The march has been met with some skepticism, especially by openly gay Member of Congress, Barney Frank (D-MA), who told Associated Press: “The only thing they’re going to be putting pressure on is the grass.” He went on to allude to more effective ways the GLBT community could push their equality agenda – constituent lobby days and grassroots efforts in the states, such as Maine, where gay marriage will soon be voted on. But even with that valid point, the thousands of marchers in Washington had ample reason to be here.

Over the last two decades, our government has actually established legislation that prohibits equality. First there is Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT), a ban of openly gay people in the military, which reduces military effectiveness. Then there is the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which conflicts the Constitution by connecting church and state with a legal definition of marriage: between a man and a women.

On the other hand, you have the Employee Non-Discrimination Act (EDNA), a piece of legislation that protects people from wrongful termination – except GLBT people. In fact, in 29 states, employers can fire or not hire someone based on their sexuality. And the list of policies that dictate civil rights for a minority group in America goes on.

In sum, our government is actively producing policy that makes some U.S. citizens less than equals. We all know that no matter what, it is not right. But somehow that message has not reached all of America. Here are some people who want to change that.

The First Amendment TEA Party

Nine months ago millions descended on the national mall to inaugurate the first black President.  Little did I know on that cold January day that this demonstration would be the start of America’s awakening to Washington and the right to peacefully assemble.

Last week for better and for worse, millions of Americans descended on Washington. Yet the scene was much different from the Inauguration.

An estimated 700,000 Americans were bussed in from across the country to send such constructive messages (sarcasm) as “You Aren’t Really a citizen,” “You are more dangerous than Osama “and told cameras that Obama “intends on doing what Hitler never could do…destroy America” from the inside.

The Taxed Enough Already (TEA) party was organized by the Freedom Works Foundation.

I’m sorry I couldn’t be at the tea party, due to other freelance commitments, but I’m so glad Max Blumenthal was. Check out this excellent citizen journalism report.


Hunger Strike: Day 26

It was day 26 of the hunger strike at the White House and I decided last night to keep it up and go again. I talked to some young people this time about why they are involved. While I have frequently been asked by the organizers if I “support their cause,” (probably because I have been the only “media” there and they are anxious for attention), I have to quickly answer with this, “I am an advocate of anyone exercising their right to peacefully assemble and address issues with the government. It’s what this democracy is all about.”

I always get a calm smile and an invitation to film whatever I like.

Here is part three of the Hunger Strike series. Each has been considered for, or has been, aired by CNN:

Previous Reports:

Unwelcome at the White House, August 9, 2009 Currently 2, 315 views, 35 comments

Hunger Strike at the White House: Day 19, August 17, 2009 Currently 1, 404 views, 83 comments

CNN iReport: Hunger Strike Goes On

I have finally decided what I do. It’s called First Amendment journalism and wherever I can find anyone exercising the right to peacefully assemble, petition the government, establish their religion, or just advocate for freedom of speech or press, I will be there.

Here is the second part of my series on the Hunger Strike at the White House. As I wrote on my Facebook page,

There is a common thread I can’t ignore as I continue to cover this story about a minority group in Iraq that is now a target of violence as the US prepares to pull out: minority groups of all kinds, gays, MEK, Kurds and more – are all likely to… become victims – as the majorities are given arms to establish Iraq as their own.

Here is the video. Let me know what you think.

Iran’s Election Disputed, American Activism Crashes Ahmadinejad’s Web site

If you haven’t been paying attention – here is the skinny. Over the weekend, Iran held presidential elections. The incumbent, supreme leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, pulled out a landslide victory. Or so it looked. Massive amounts of people organized in a visceral reaction to Ahmadinejad’s second-term victory, claiming his contender, Mir Hossein Mousavi, had been cheated. Mousavi almost immediately demanded the election results be annulled.

One U.S. blogger, Andrew Sullivan, described President Ahmadinejad’s leadership and said he is dedicated to “conflict abroad,” manipulative of “rural, religious voters,” and engaged in other abuses of “the state.” Even perhaps more illuminating, Sullivan asked whether Iranian voters can “trust the process” when they have a President who “pulls tricks” like Karl Rove.

Back in Iran, tens of thousands of Iranians took the streets in opposition to Ahmadinejad victory. Citizen journalism video reports and the use of micro blogs and hash tags(#iran #iranelections) broadcasted a raw and emotional look at what Iranian organizers, press and activists were going through in the capital of Tehran.

One YouTube user, theamirzare, who apparently just signed up on the video sharing network to post this video, sent a simple message:  “Ahmadinejad is NOT my President.” In just two days, the video has over 23,000 views.

Back in the U.S., activist bloggers chased the story with original content created by on-the-ground reporters from the New York Times, CNN and others. Tracy Viselli, a blogger at Care2, pulled together a well-organized summary of key highlights as well as a few videos from the ground. Below I posted my favorite, which is from CNN’s Chief International Correspondent, Christiane Amanpour. Her cameras caught one woman shouting, “People in Tehran hate Ahmadinejad! People in Tehran hate Ahmadinejad!””

Finally, on Sunday night, as hundreds, if not thousands of U.S. bloggers watched the chaos unfold, some decided to start a little chaos of their own. TechPresident broke the news that a group of cyber strategists had temporarily shut down Iran’s state-run media web site, www.IRIB.ir. The effort was lead by D.C. political consultant and new media authority, Josh Koster, who leveraged free web app called Page Reboot, to bring the site down. The customized anti-IRIB link was passed around through Twitter and list servs until finally, at 9:24 PM EST, @joshkoster proclaimed, “(PLS RT!): We just brought down Iran’s media site. 2 More: http://tinyurl.com/m42b65 http://tinyurl.com/lmgzmf #iranelection (PLS RT!)

Oh, democracy. Aren’t you fun.