There’s a neat circularity to the fact that a lot of the best new online media and communication tools being developed by educated techies have simple purposes as their aims. Or to put it another way, I think it’s pretty cool that a select few highly skilled people are beavering away creating tools that can then be used by the masses. I’m thinking particularly of community engagement and advocacy tools, like just-launched DoGooder, and also crisis response tools, like Ushahidi, or even ones with human rights applications like Refugees Reunited (outlined in a previous post).
The Knight News Challenge is an international competition for media innovation in just these sorts of areas, and one of this year’s winners has created the idea for a prototype tool that fits this high-tech to low-tech bill nicely. Zeega, to be developed by a team from Harvard University, will be a set of open-source web tools “designed to foster new genres of investigative journalism and media art, making collaborative multimedia documentaries cheaper and easier to produce.”
The prize money means the team now actually gets to go away and develop the tool, so in 18 months’ time it will be fascinating to see what emerges. In another neat piece of circularity, the name Zeega is drawn from Dziga Vertov, one of the earliest documentary filmmakers who was contending with much lower-tech tools but still managed to be groundbreaking, for example making 1929’s Man with a Movie Camera. Just to mangle the analogy a little further, Dziga Vertov was a pseudonym. David Kaufman took the name which roughly means ‘spinning top’ -- looks impressive but anyone can use it. Alright maybe I’m stretching that one a bit far…(Via @DocMovies)
About this writer
Patrick Lindsay's book shows that to understand the Anzac spirit we must first understand the spirit of Gallipoli.
The untold story of Australian soldiers caught up in war and revolution during the invasion of Russia in 1918-1919.
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