Final Presentation - Midwest Democracy Project

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18 Νοε 2013 (πριν από 3 χρόνια και 8 μήνες)

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Midwest Democracy
Project

Ben Stewart

&

Tracy Pfeiffer

"At its heart, The Midwest Democracy Project is a grand
experiment to find new and better ways for citizens to get
informed and engage in civic debate. Our project aims to be
the go
-
to source for trustworthy information as we vote on
and discuss significant civic issues in our communities.

That information will come from a variety of sources: from
local media in the Midwest, from candidates and public
officials


and most importantly, from citizens themselves."

Concept


Video Series: The real life experiences of Missourians


Five Major Topics in 2010 U.S. Senate election:

1) Health care

2) Jobs/economy

3) Political shift
--

conservative?

4) Energy/environment

5) Immigration

The Process




Required a fair amount of driving



Ben: 3,061 miles (55 hours)



Tracy: 1,573 miles (20 hours)



TOTAL: 4,634 miles (75 hours)


The Process




Direct phone calls always seemed to be the best way to find
sources, though sometimes email addresses were the best we
could find




Sometimes the perception of exposure for the source’s
cause was enough leverage to get them to agree to an
interview (i.e., Jennifer Bird or Clinton Guenther)




We always made it clear that they were speaking for
themselves as Missourians and that our videos were not
going to favor any one source in any way


Former Governor Bob Holden (St. Louis, MO)

The Evolution of the Project


The very earliest conceptions of the project were quite
different from the final product:



Documentary style shooting/editing



Truth
-
squading



Using political ads and campaign

trail audio/ video



Including a graphics scheme to open

the video and for lower third titles


These four elements would

change as the project went on

Clinton Guenther (Rolla, MO)

Crafting Videos




Contacting an organization or company and speaking with


the leadership was usually just a first step to


finding other potential sources in the



community that could speak independently




Agricultural cooperatives and police
departments proved to be some of the

toughest to work with because of strict

media
-
relations rules that they have




Politics is a sensitive issue, so many
private citizens prefer not to get
involved with videos

Cisse

Spragins

(Kansas City, MO)

Crafting Videos




One of the big challenges in writing scripts, especially in
politics, is writing succinct narration and cutting

the interviews down to the bare essentials




We tried to develop a good balance of

sources that played off one another




One nice discovery we made was that

people really aren’t as partisan as they

seem on the 24
-
hour news networks.

Most of our sources were very civil

and thoughtful.

Cisse

Spragins

(Kansas City, MO)

Crafting Videos




B
-
roll was another interesting situation that required some
creativity on our part while maintaining objectivity




We tried to pry into the lives of our sources

a bit to ask them about opportunities for

good visuals




We found that the time constraints

involved in balancing classes, jobs, and

other interviews often had us thinking

on our feet in the field

Cisse

Spragins

(Kansas City, MO)

Crafting Videos




The directions that interviews took also needed our
attention




We needed to anticipate what one subject

would say and create questions based on the

responses we had already heard




Each of the topics in these videos was

very broad and needed to be narrowed

down, but we made sure to allow

each source to speak about what

they felt was most important

Joya

Tyler (Columbia, MO)

Ethical Issues and Questions:





-

Choosing sources




-

Balance




-

Necessity




-

Relevance




-

Mission




-

Aiming for diverse sources




-

Age




-

Gender




-

Race




-

Class




-

Nationality

Joya

Tyler (Columbia, MO)

Ethical Issues and Questions:


For example: The “conservatism in Missouri” video



Representing which parties/views?


1
st

goal: find someone who switched
parties since the 2008 election



The term “reddening”



Inflammatory comments

Joya

Tyler (Columbia, MO)

Ethical Issues and Questions:


For example: The immigration video



How do we define "directly affected"?

What
are the opportunities? The limits?



Drawing the line between objectivity and
purpose



Handling sensitive issues



B
-
roll

Jennifer Bird (Arnold, MO)

Appealing to our audience:




Who consumes political news? Online political news?




College students versus 24+ residents

Jennifer Bird (Arnold, MO)

Appealing to our audience:


“We truly are a state of parts… Saint Louis is the most
western city of the East, and Kansas City is the most eastern
city of the West


and those are two totally

different cultures. The
Bootheel

is as “deep south”

as any place you’ll find. Southwest Missouri is

the hill country of Kentucky, Tennessee, Maryland,

West Virginia… North of 70 is the corn country of

Nebraska, Iowa, the Dakotas, and places

like that.”


-

Former Governor Holden

Jennifer Bird (Arnold, MO)

Appealing to our audience:


How much do we need to worry about

regional differences in the state?



Kansas City area



St. Louis area



Central Missouri



South Missouri



The Boot Heel


Examples:



Choosing topics



Focusing each video



Changing video titles


Justin Stephan (Clinton, MO)

Suggestions for the future:



Citizen journalism: Style Guide



Example Style Guides:



Institute of Southern Jewish Life, Oral History

Department (
here
)



The University of North Carolina, Asheville


(
here
)



The LARGEMOUTH Citizen Journalism Manual



(
here
)


Justin Stephan (Clinton, MO)

Suggestions for the future:




Mobile reporting



Probably not the most financially efficient



But what are the alternatives?



Developing multiregional networks



For single pieces



For a series



Video: Uniform Graphics


Ronald Bonar (Versailles, MO)

A Video Section:




Transcripts



Search Engine Optimization



Ensure understanding



Ability
-
conscious



Sometimes people cannot watch videos,

but still want to consume the information

in the video


Mike Plunkett (Kansas City, MO)

Campaign Trail
-
Oriented Videos:




We did not pursue this structure for our videos this
semester due to objectivity concerns




As stand
-
alone issue studies, though, these could effectively


educate voters on both the rhetoric and the




known facts




Could include ads that candidates put
out, video we’ve collected at trail stops,

and
infographics

with voting records



and other useful data


Ryan Hendrickson (St. Louis, MO)

Viewer reactions:




“There’s nothing better than talking about such a hot topic
with personal stories. Some people won’t care, but if you put
it into a story, you persuade people to care.”




“It’s not like a documentary, but it was a good

summary. It will encourage people to do more

research. A good icebreaker. I would have kept

watching if it were a bit longer. It was attractive

and you kept me engaged.”




“There may be smoother ways to

transition from the introduction,

but the end was smooth.”

Miguel
Ayllon

-

Hispanic male, age 29

(on Immigration video)


Ryan Hendrickson (St. Louis, MO)

Viewer reactions:




“I could have easily watched another minute on top of what
you had. It could be four to five minutes. “




“It seems to help close the gap between

what’s going on in the political world and how

laws will affect real people. It helps outsiders

understand more.”




“There is a distinct difference in tone between

the people being interviewed and the

narrator, who is lower energy.”


Daniel Masters, white male, age 20

(on Jobs/Economy video)


Ryan Hendrickson (St. Louis, MO)

Videos:


1.
Health Care

2.
Jobs/Economy

3.
Conservatism in Missouri

4.
Environment and Energy

5.
Immigration

6.
What Comes Next