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"State of Play" Reexamines Gatekeeping Forces in the Media

State of Play: The Gatekeeping of Micro-documentariesSelf-publishing has removed traditional barriers to distribution, but the result is what Nick Michael calls "a soup of undifferentiated content" that makes it harder for filmmakers to get their audiences' attention. These days, the problem isn't putting your message out there; it's finding people who will listen to you.

In today's world of YouTube, Facebook, Wordpress, Tumblr, and Twitter, anyone can self-publish content. The gatekeeping power of the "old media" is no longer a necessary obstacle for mediamakers. But self-publishing platforms are not as "gate-less" as they often seem. Read more...

PBS FRONTLINE Tackles "Nightmare Bacteria"

FRONTLINEOne of the great storytelling challenges when it comes to public health issues is relating to audiences. Luckily for writer, producer and director Rick Young, “the FRONTLINE audience is very sophisticated.”

Young was speaking at a special American University screening and panel discussion for the newest PBS FRONTLINE production “Hunting the Nightmare Bacteria,” along with associate producer Emma Schwartz and correspondent David Hoffman. The documentary, a co-production with the Investigative Reporting Workshop, premieres nationwide on PBS, Tuesday, October 22 at 10pm (check local listings). Read more...

What Filmmakers Can Learn from Journalists (and Vice Versa)

ONA13At the always-electrifying Online News Association conference, filmmakers could learn plenty from journalists—including the fact that journalists think they need filmmakers.

Video was all over the conference, as one of the essential storytelling tools for the digital journalist. Whether in the rush to create little explainers, or discussion of maker tools such as those provided by Zeega and Treehouse (Interlude), or the chatter over the New York Times’ recent interactive video Op Doc, Kat Cizek’s “The History of High Rises,” video storytelling was clearly one of the darlings of cutting-edge journalists.  Todd Melby’s Localore project, Black Gold Boom, was an ONA award winner. Read more...

"God and Gangs" Short Films Debut on YouTube

God and GangsDocumentary filmmaker Bill Gentile looks at the role of religion in curbing Guatemalan gang violence in his new short film series, “God and Gangs: Criminal Violence and Religion in Guatemala.”

Gentile, who teaches backpack journalism at American University, says Guatemalan gang members “have two exit routes: a coffin and the Evangelical Church”. Read more...

The Center's New Look

CMSIYes, you are in the right place. This is the Center for Social Media website—in our new incarnation! We’re excited to relaunch, in order to best serve our historic mission as an innovation lab and research center that studies, designs and showcases media for social impact.

Our new name, Center for Media & Social Impact, helps with that mission. In the era of Twitter and Facebook, it more clearly expresses who we are. It also fits our ever-growing research agenda on measuring impact—and designing media—for social good. Read more...