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May I Have Your Attention, Please?

Everyone these days has an attention span of gnat buzzing off from a puddle of dribbled Red Bull.

But know you want more. You want the “investment piece” – the sustainable video that elevates “LOL, cool” to “OMG!"

Two social-change filmmakers share their secrets -- from the challenges of working the street to best practices in the editing suite.They will reveal the strategies and skills that have shaped the success of their award-winning projects.

Developing these trusted voices is steeped in the oldest Old Media techniques and instincts beat reporters use to cultivate sources. What may be different from the journalism model is a more explicit framing of the engagement as a partnership in truth telling.

However, smart editors embrace the short attention span mentality when it comes to crafting the final product.

This panel offers advice on the rhythm of visual storytelling and how to put it to work – long term – across social media networks.

Additional Supporting Materials


  1. What techniques are used to get a subject to open up and establish the trust you talk about being essential? It's interesting that you say the process is old-style in one respect but very reliant on social media in terms of connecting to people and sustaining your success.
  2. How do know what's the truth? How do you avoid simply packaging what sounds good -- like the rest of the media hoard? Have you ever had a sense that someone you're interviewing is playing you?
  3. You guys both came from journalism and are professionally trained. Is there a downside to "citizen journalism" when just about anyone can point a camera, post to YouTube and represent themselves as investigative reporters?
  4. How did/does social media play a role in the success of your work? Mark, a power user, you are well known in the non-profit social media space, without it and YouTube your message may be lost. John, you are known for spending countless hours on Twitter building a following by targeting specific users, bloggers, advocates and organizations focused on hunger, food resources, the elderly, caregivers and the disabled. Elaborate on some of the social media strategies used to achieve your goals.
  5. What do you mean when you refer to your work being "a partnership in truth telling"? Does it mean that what you do is not journalism?



Jennifer Martin, Manager, AARP

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