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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...

Social Change Through Comedy

Caty Chattoo

How can we view social issues differently if the lens is unexpected and maybe even a little controversial? How do we follow a comic’s joke to its sources in real life? What happens when we use comedy as a lens for examining the most pressing issues in global development?

These are some of the questions that Executive Producer Caty Borum Chattoo , Creative Director at the Center for Media & Social Impact , has been working to help raise over the past year with her latest project, “ Stand Up Planet .” Read more...

Fair Use Question of the Month: Cultural Reporting and Criticism

Image by Abee5/Flickr

Dear Center for Media & Social Impact,

I am reviewing the latest work of a novelist, and want to quote some text from his earlier novel, as well his current one, to show how differently the novelist uses language in his current work. I know I have permission to quote from the current work because the publisher requested that I write this review. But I am grappling with whether it is appropriate to quote from the novelist’s earlier work. 

Melanie Read more...