For everyone that is attending Internet Week New York, we hope to see you on May 23 for the official closing party.
We're very pleased to be partnering with Internet Week and our friends at Spreenkler to host the last event of the festival, celebrating NYC digital media and culture. Mass Appeal is also a sponsor. Throughout the evening, we'll be projecting Storyhunter videos at The DL rooftop lounge on the Lower East Side.
There is limited space for this event, which is reserved for sponsors & partners, special invites or those who bought an Insider Pass. But to guarantee your spot for free, sign up to our Storyhunter ScreenUp NYC MeetUp group and RSVP for the featured event before May 20. Then, we'll send you an RSVP code.
Great music is also guaranteed by DJs Eli Escobar, Blu Jemz, Lauren Flax and Nick Hook.
We're very excited to be a part of Internet Week New York for the first time. It's important for the NYC digital media community to get together and learn from each other at events like these. We're particularly looking forward to Aereo's panel on online television platforms, Vice's conflict journalism panel, Eyebeam's interactive art show and Media Bistro's mixer for digital professionals.
We hope to see your there. If you see anyone from the Storyhunter team, make sure you say hello.
Adriana Loeff and Federica Narancio Congratulations to Adriana and Federica in Montevideo, Uruguay, for being named Storyhunters of the Month (SOM) for March!
Their story, published in Portuguese by Yahoo Brasil and in soon in Spanish by Yahoo Argentina, gave us an inside look at the leading activists behind the debate over the legalization of marijuana in Uruguay. Also thanks to Luis Melgar, who served as part of the production team. Federica joined Co-founder Alex Ragir in a video conversation (in Spanish) to discuss the story.
At the Renaissance Hotel in Washington D.C. on the last week of January, character-driven reality programming was king. The Real Screen Summit is one of the biggest events for the cable TV industry; a place where producers scramble to meet network executives and pitch their newest and wildest reality TV characters and formats. Reality TV has become so popular, several attendees told me, because cable audiences love eccentric personalities and it’s much cheaper to find a talkative loose cannon than write a plot or produce a documentary.
This year, the envy of all reality-TV producers was the History Channel’s Pawn Star, a chronicle of a family-owned Las Vegas pawn shop that showcases the interpersonal conflicts of the owners and the customers. Porn star puns aside, there was some discussion (or admission) among producers that some of the biggest reality TV stars are becoming more and more wacky just to fulfill their projected TV personas. They react to situations in the show the way they think the audience would expect their TV personalities to react. Have the personalities gone rogue?
A glimmer of hope for those interested in more meaningful documentaries came on a panel discussion called Entertainment vs. Altruism. Evan Shapiro, the former president of IFC TV and the Sundance Channel, said he's noticed that brands and wealthy entrepreneurs are realizing how inspiring documentaries are also worthwhile investments. He now runs Participant Media and said he took his new job, essentially, because the owner, Jeff Skoll, the first president of EBay, believed in creating quality films for the social good. "People are realizing that there's a positive way to tell a story," Shapiro said. " And consumers want to align themselves with companies that tell them."
The lack of discussion about online distribution at the conference gave the impression that the cable TV industry is living in a bubble. I would’ve expected a bit more talk about the imminent showdown with Internet giants like Amazon, Youtube and Apple, all of which are streaming videos and movies on online TV devices. They also are moving aggressively into premium, original content.
That same weekend, video-streaming service Netflix aired its first original series, the political drama House of Cards (apparently they spent $100 million on the first two seasons). Academy Award-winning Kevin Spacey plays a sly House Majority Whip who tells his constituents whatever they want to hear and then turns to the camera with a proverbial wink, explaining how he’s one step ahead of everyone.
Streaming the show on Apple TV, I was even more surprised to see that they released the entire first season at once-- a proverbial wink, perhaps, to 24-hour cable? Netflix is foregoing the publicity from a weekly series in a bet that it can attract more viewers (and customers) by giving them what they want all at once, and letting people like me binge on several episodes in one sitting.
Meanwhile, cable executives are still searching for cheaper reality TV shows to fill the linear programming slots that soon won’t exist; reality TV keeps moving further from reality; and I finished the entire first season of House of Cards in about a week.
Karl Penhaul Karl's story "The Life of a Coca Leaf" gave us an inside look at how entrenched the cocaine trade really is in many rural Colombian villages.
“They believe that there is nothing else that they can grow that would bring them sufficient income for them and their families to get by,” Karl said in this video interview with Storyhunter Co-founder Alex Ragir.
(Photograph: Nicole Tung/AFP/Getty Images)
In an announcement released yesterday by his family, freelance video journalist James Foley has been missing in Syria since Thanksgiving. Unidentified gunmen captured the 39-year-old journalist, who had been producing video for AFP, in Syria’s northern province of Idlib. This is the second time Foley has disappeared while reporting in a conflict zone. Gaddafi loyalists kidnapped Foley, while covering Libya’s civil war for GlobalPost in April 2011.
At STORYHUNTER, we are saddened to learn about Foley’s disappearance. He, like the many Storyhunters in our network, has dedicated his life to uncover important, untold stories and expose social injustice through the powerful medium of online video. We urge the STORYHUNTER community to visit the campaign Foley’s family created to appeal for his freedom.