For immediate release:
September 17, 2012
Public Media Reaches for More Americans
Producer-station productions underway tap the full media spectrum
Boston: “Go outside.” That was the challenge AIR gave to its 10 Localore producers selected earlier this year to lead a new and ambitious phase of R&D at public radio and television stations across the nation. Halfway through the production phase, the projects are revealing new models of convergence blending broadcast, digital, and “street” media.
Localore (localore.net) is a $2 million initiative produced by Boston-based AIR with lead funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Ten public radio and television stations signed on to partner with AIR and its selected producers for up to one year to expand the stations’ capacity to experiment and connect more deeply with Americans who are reimagining themselves at this pivotal moment of disruptive socioeconomic change.
At KCRW, Sonic Trace producer Anayansi Diaz-Cortes took to the airwaves of Los Angeles to call out the ingenuity of architects across the city to build a portable sound booth that would provide new immigrant storytellers a private and “borderless” space to describe their experiences. The winning concept, La Burbuja (the bubble), was the brainchild of Hugo Martinez and Christin To, immigrants themselves: http://bit.ly/BurbujaHasLanded.
It’s a Scary Place for Women sums up the views of one North Dakotan transplant looking to make a buck on the Black Gold Boom (blackgoldboom.com). This video short (http://bit.ly/BGB-ScaryPlace) is part of the extensive ongoing Localore series produced by Todd Melby with award-winning photographer Ben Garvin in partnership with Prairie Public Broadcasting.
Chicago Public Media and Localore’s Jennifer Brandel are working with a broad coalition of nearly 60 staffers across the station to open up the editorial/reporting process. Curious City has crowdsourced 250 questions (and running) about the city via broadcast, Web, and from the street. Each winning question is assigned to a WBEZ reporter, with their “investigation” tracked online and via broadcast reports. On the first foray, reporter Alex Keefe set out to substantiate or debunk rumors about Al Capone's subterranean tunnels: http://bit.ly/CC-Capone.
“Who’s paddling the trumpets?” was one of the concerns of those organizing the Austin-based Minor Mishap Marching Band's canoe parade up Barton Creek: http://bit.ly/AMM-MinorMishap. This is just one marker laid down by Localore producer Delaney Hall and the KUT media team as they prepare to launch a map of the undiscovered musical underbridges, porches, and backyards across the city.
The Ed Zed Omega "thought collaboration" on American education (http://edzedomega.org) incubating at Twin Cities Public Television will be played out over the next three months across social media platforms by eight fictional characters: Mary Johnson—a guidance counselor who's fed up with the drop-out rate—six teens entering their final semester of high school, and one homeschooler. Game designer/creator Ken Eklund directs the narrative thread from behind the scenes as it unfolds, exploring "What is school supposed to accomplish?" Educate yourself about EZO in Wired: http://bit.ly/EZO-Wired.
Lead producer Erica Mu and KALW’s Audrey Dilling from our Hear Here: A Pop-Up Radio Project (http://hearhere.kalw.org/) provided the first in a series of Localore "City Life Snapshots" airing now on NPR’s All Things Considered as part of their ongoing “Urban Life in the 21st Century.” Listen: http://bit.ly/HH-CityLife.
The weeks ahead will bring the launch of new, groundbreaking, interactive documentary sites designed for the local projects in partnership with Cambridge, Massachusetts-based technology group Zeega (http://www.Zeega.org):
- Producers Nikki Silva and Davia Nelson (Kitchen Sisters) and KQED will invite citizens across the Bay Area to remix media through their “The Making of…” productions focusing on the region’s roots-to-rafters culture of innovation.
- In Paonia, Colorado, Julia Kumari Drapkin and KVNF are reimagining the Farmers’ Almanac digitally as they quest for a full continuum of citizens’ experience and opinions about the effects the changes in the weather bring.
- Award-winning filmmakers Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar and WYSO are working under the radar with their Reinvention stories walking the streets of Dayton, Ohio, where they’ve asked hard-hit residents “Who are you becoming, or trying to become now?”
- Chinese takeouts are ubiquitous in cities across the U.S., including Boston, where Val Wang and WGBH are using these hyperlocal portals to reveal a new layer of the city’s rich and multinational fabric through Planet Takeout.
“Our producers in the field are bringing to life the full spectrum of public media in ways we couldn’t have imagined at the onset of this project,” says AIR Executive Director and Localore Executive Producer Sue Schardt. And Jennifer Ferro, GM at station incubator KCRW/Los Angeles, says of their Sonic Trace: “I love what’s happening. It’s more than we hoped for.”
Boston-based AIR (http://www.AIRmedia.org) is a vibrant, tightly networked association of more than 860 journalists, documentarians, technicians, media entrepreneurs, and sound artists working at the front edge of public media reinvention. In addition to CPB, financial support for Localore comes from the Wyncote Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
In October, Localore producers present at the sold-out Third Coast Conference, an international showcase for audio storytelling. Dispatches and ongoing coverage of all 10 projects at http://airmediaworks.org/blog