April 30, 2010

TakePart: Spurring people to take action

TakePart: Spurring people to take action from JD Lasica on Vimeo.

JD LasicaThe single most difficult issue that those of us in the social change movement confront is: figuring out how to get people to take action. So I’ve been paying close attention over the months to the successful efforts of TakePart, an initiative of Participant Media.

Ric-O'BarryI recently ran into Adriana Dunn, editor of the TakePart blogs, and caught some of her thoughts about the lessons they’ve learned in participatory media. Adriana just wrote an entry about major events related to The Cove, winner of the Oscar for best feature documentary, over the past 18 months. They’ve just passed the 1 million petition mark, but you can sign the petition, write to elected officials or make a donation.

Watch, download or embed the video on Vimeo

Ric O’Barry — the former trainer for Flipper who stars in “The Cove” (and the fellow holding the sign at top right) — appeared on Oprah on April 22, Earth Day, bringing the film’s message to the masses.

TakePart is much more than “The Cove,” however. Check out their beautiful News & Blogs section to see all the worthy causes you can get involved with or learn more about. For example, author Michael Pollan recently did a live chat about the 2009 documentary Food, Inc., in which he appeared.

“We’re not always going to be the one single source of information,” Adriana tells me, “but we do want to be the source where the community can go to find information about nonprofits, social change or whatever issue you’re passionate about.”

Follow @takepart (6,510 followers) on Twitter; Participant Media (SocialActionNow) has not yet taken off there.

Participant Media has either produced or distributed such films as “An Inconvenient Truth,” “Charlie Wilson’s War,” “The Kite Runner,” “The Soloist,” “Syriana,” “Good Night, and Good Luck,” “The Visitor,” “Food, Inc.,” “North Country” and the new “Oceans” and “Furry Vengeance.” See their full list.


‘The Cove’: Will movies usher in a new era of social change? (interview with Christopher Gebhardt, general manager and executive vice president of TakePart, on Socialbrite)
The Cove site on TakePart

January 30, 2010

Reporting from the World Economic Forum


Sloane BerrentLet me share something here that I’m not sharing over on the MySpace blogs. Rather let me gush for a second. Davos, Switzerland, is truly spectacular. There is something about an invite-only conference that allows every attendee to walk up to one another and say hi, introduce yourself, make conversation. Everyone who is here has done something special to be here. Sure, there are a few lucky ducks (like myself) who have found their way here, but heads of states and CEOs and global leaders all under one roof make for very interesting conversations.

Which leads me to my next point – the people here care very much. There are a lot of conversations about just about everything you could imagine. Water conservation and sustainable of global fisheries, the future of the Middle East, what the World Cup in South Africa this summer can do to raise awareness of current hot topic issues in Africa, the crisis in Haiti. There are a million things happening in the world right now and chances are someone here is an expert in that field. Continue reading

June 9, 2009

Accuracy tip sheet for citizen journalists

Before you write

1. The best way to maintain accuracy is to develop a system and stick to it.

2. Take the extra seconds to read back to the interviewee the spelling of his or her name. If you need an age, ask for a birth date and year.

3. Avoid using secondary sources to verify facts.

4. If you have to use secondary sources, find at least two and make sure they agree independently; don’t simply ask one to confirm what the other said.

5. Verify phone/fax numbers, web and email addresses. For example, copy the url from the document and paste it into a browser. Call the phone number.

When you write

1. Consult your documentary sources – notebook, printed materials – as you’re writing. If you don’t want to interrupt the writing flow, make sure to put a mark reminding you to double-check it later. “ck” for “check” is a standard proofreader’s mark. “cq” is shorthand for “this is accurate”; it is often used with unusual spellings, facts and figures.
2. Identify your sources. Your readers need to know where this information comes from so they can judge its credibility.

3. Show transparency. If someone appears to be an expert, that’s one thing. If they also have a financial or other stake in one version of the story, that’s another. Be skeptical. Good journalists have to assume that everyone, even people they like, may sometimes shade the truth.

4. Don’t confuse opinions with facts. Opinions make personal journalism lively, but make sure your readers know what is fact and what is an opinion.

Continue reading