RNC coverage: ITJ takes the spirit of blogging to the TV screen

During this political season, credentialed bloggers have been wooing delegates, politicians, and traditional journalists at conventions with new media wonderment.

During this political season, credentialed bloggers have been wooing delegates, politicians, and traditional journalists at conventions with new media wonderment.

Not so well known at the Republican National Convention was Konscious Media, a non-profit group that provides content on the internet and for television stations. Konscious Media members, armed with a microphone, camera, video camera, "wearable PC," and a platform called Interactive Tele-Journalism (ITJ), provided interactive television. With the technology, internet users could post comments to run with the images and link up directly with the interviewer. Shawn Van Every, a resident researcher in NYU's interactive telecommunications program, created the ITJ platform. Konscious deployed four crews to the events surrounding the convention and made their footage available on the website Konscious.tv and on public access television on the Manhattan Neighborhood Network. Free Speech TV, a public access station available on the satellite and local public access channels, gave a fifth crew from Konscious TV credentials to film inside the convention. The reporters didn't use canned guests or predetermined commentary, preferring to wander the streets and convention for unscripted dialogue. Konscious Media sent out a press release about its coverage and had a journalism review magazine follow its crews during their filming. Additionally, Van Every said, Wired News was interested in talking to the group. Konscious Media also ran promotional spots on the public access stations and sent e-mail forwards to potential viewers. Most of the media pickup, however, came via blogs. Following the blogger ethos, the platform allows more participants in the newsgathering and opinion process. "Low cost, interactive TV gives the audience a great deal of participation that traditional media doesn't offer," Van Every said. "They have direct influence in the way [the program] was shot and it gives voice to people who don't [normally] have a voice. People at home can log onto Konscious.tv and use the chat application to communicate with other readers and potentially have their messages reach the interviewer and the television screen. "It's great being at such a high profile event [providing] an alternative coverage than the mainstream," Van Every said. The crews talked with protesters, average New Yorkers, delegates, and the media. The ITJ platform has also been used commercially for small-scale gatherings like art openings. "But this work [at the Convention] proves that it works on a large scale," Van Every said. Konscious Media wrapped up its coverage on Tuesday and was looking for new outlets. "Based on anecdotal evidence, we had a big audience," Van Every said.

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