Back to the (Net)roots: From explosions to the gotcha clip and “the talk”

Minneapolis is the site of the national Netroots Nation convention this week, and Minnesota media is making a good showing. I caught two workshops with Minnesota presenters this morning, “Breaking News with Mobile” with Mike McIntee, Jason Barnett and Chuck Olson from The Uptake, and “Managing a State Community Blog,” with Joe Bodell and Eric Pusey from Minnesota Progressive Project joining forces with Katherine Haenschen and KT Musselman from Burnt Orange Report in Texas.

Netroots Nation (formerly the YearlyKos Convention) says it includes “progressive organizations and politicians who use new media technologies to communicate with their constituents.” This is the sixth annual convention, with about 2,000 people in attendance, with keynote speakers including Senator Russ Feingold, Governor Howard Dean, Van Jones and Minnesota’s own Congressmember Keith Ellison and Senator Al Franken, as well as parties and rallies and movies.

So—what useful bits of information came from this morning’s sessions?

First, from The Uptake, which was streaming live phone video coverage three years before BBC finally got around to it, come three new rules for mobile video. Instead of lights, camera, action, remember:

Lights—Watch the backlighting, keep the light source behind you, not behind the subject that you have on camera, use the sun as much as you can.

Close-up—Stay close to your subject, or you won’t get good audio. And try to get faces in the video.

Audio—If you invest in any equipment, get something that will help audio on your phone. Get a microphone that you can hand to someone for an interview. People will watch any crap video if the audio is clear and compelling, but they won’t watch the video if the audio is garbled. (“Except for explosions and fires,” said the crew. “Everybody loves explosions!”)

The Uptake has lots of other tips, and even training advice on their website, where they will also be posting lots of videos from Netroots Nation.

I followed their advice and downloaded the Qik app to my Android during the workshop, but couldn’t multitask fast enough to get my own video of the presentation. Which is probably fine, according to the folks at the next workshop, who advised posting “no more than two minutes” of video.

Katherine Haenschen talked about a Texas legislator who had just been caught on video talking about the “war on contraception.”  It’s great footage, she said, but she would not “punish people with some 10-minute YouTube video,” with instructions to “go to minute 7:45.” Instead, she advised posting just the gotcha clip, and then focusing on analysis of what was said, how that fits in the debate, and what it means in the larger political context, insisting that, “Writing is important!”

The folks from Minnesota Progressive Project emphasized that community involvement is key, pointing to their practice of allowing anyone to create an account, log in, and start writing. (NOTE TO TC Daily Planet readers: That’s our policy, too!)

If they see someone producing frequent, consistently good writing, then Eric Pusey calls for “the talk,” a personal contact to recruit them as regular, front-page bloggers. That kind of personal contact is key, all of the state/community blog panel agreed.

And, speaking of personal contact, you’re invited to contact the TC Daily Planet, through our Learn how to use the Daily Planet session on Thursday, June 23, 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. at East Lake Public Library, 2727 E. Lake Street, Minneapolis and our Daily Planet Happy Hour afterwards, from 5 to 7 p.m. at T’s Place, 2713 East Lake Street, Minneapolis.

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