Help me out here. I need some advice on growing anti-hierarchical organizations.
I have been trying to make Indymedia Presents more global, more interesting, more radical, and more timely. Sometimes these episodes bring the news so late that it’s not even relevant anymore. It’s because the commitment to creating a television show weekly is relatively low, and all the physical resources that go into production are actually located in someone’s attic. Just about six months ago, we were airing episodes about 3 or 4 months after they were created. News from the Republican National Convention aired on Indymedia something like 100 days after we had already left St. Paul. (Thanks to Franklin Lopez our videos were shown daily on Free Speech TV, however.)
But for the most part we are not that prompt, nor that organized. Even though I compiled this latest episode a week ago, it airs this Friday. It’s about the G20, and NATO But these things happened 21 days ago! So we are almost a month behind. Why can’t we air the news from this week, this week? Or at least put it online the day of creation?
This is not 1901 when news from London took weeks to arrive in New York, and even longer to reach Seattle. SMS has changed everything. YouTube and indymedia have changed everything. But our collective has not changed much since 1999, still relying to a large extent on snail mail. Consequently the television show takes forever to be seen by large audiences. Very few people watch the online version because they have likely already heard or seen of the news.
A couple of things I want to see happen:
- Decentralize everything about Indymedia Presents. No longer would a few people in Seattle have the ability to create a 28 minute show, but people from all over the country (globe?) could join the network and coordinate the creation of each episode, using FTP and file sharing to exchange content.
- We need a TV personality. For example, Franklin Lopez is the “Stimulator” for his online show on subMedia.tv. Indymedia Presents is rarely introduced or narrated by anyone in particular. It’s a hodge podge of different narrators. Instead there could be one or two personalities who close and introduce each segment. It does not need to be someone perfect, just consistent.
- Reach out to other communities. Indymedia is global, but Indymedia Presents is far too often just news about Seattle. The Bay Area IMC (”Indybay”), for example, has one of the most impressive IMC websites. It allows users to upload homemade videos and others can download them. Videos from police shootings are uploaded instantly, for example. But rarely does Indymedia Presents collect short documentaries from Indybay or other heavily-used IMCs.
- Lend equipment to people who want to make videos but don’t know how or have the equipment.
- Use file-sharing to upload each show to the public access television server. That way, it won’t take a week to reach the station, and/or another week to go on television.
- Use web2.0 to do the work for us. Have Indymedia meetings using Skype if you need to interview members of other video collectives in, say, Atlanta, before you rely on them to produce a show.
- Advertise Indymedia Presents. The more people know about it, the more people will subscribe or watch it, and the more inspired the creators will be to contribute more content and spend more time pefrfecting it.