Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Question No. 27: “You accept submissions, right?”

November 4, 2009

Ira Question Written by Nathan Mattise

Today I attended a conversation with former Playboy CEO Christie Hefner. Given the territory, she had tons of provocative and profound things to say. One in particular really peaked my interest however.

A student asked if it’s tough to attract young journalists to Playboy because of the potential trouble it could cause on a resume down the road. Hefner retorted that actually the opposite is true, Playboy doesn’t have enough room for all the writers that want to be published within and the list of writers who have contributed (including publishing the original excerpts of Fahrenheit 451 and All The President’s Men) has made it a badge of honor. She finished the thought by noting that, especially for storytellers looking to have non-traditional journalism pieces published, Playboy is actually one of the very few places that features short-form fiction (evidenced by their yearly contest for unknown writers).

Seems like it’s a rough market for young storytellers…

What advice do you have for young storytellers looking to share their work in the digital age? Given the fact that many of the known outlets are very difficult to get published through (books, select literary magazines, public radio reading opportunities, etc.) would you recommend starting off self-publishing for free or cheap online (and hoping that the merit of your work can lead to more wide-reaching, established means)?

Links: The Newshouse | Playboy Online

E-mail us if you have a question for Ira Glass to discuss or if you have insight on this one.

Question No. 26: “What’s the web site again?”

November 3, 2009

Ira Question | Written by Nathan Mattise

We talked about innovating new ways of communicating a story in my web journalism class tonight. We’ve worked with slideshows, audio interviews, video sequencing and, of course, text already.  Our professors showed us some free web tools to try some things ( for instance) but my mind immediately went to the work of Jonathan Harris.  He’s someone a new media prof. of mine turned me on to and I immediately began questioning how viable my future in online storytelling was.

The thought that next came to mind was the TAL web site. Ira Glass and co. were adventurous enough to take storytelling to the video medium for two successful seasons of TAL TV. Radio has held strong for them and translated fine to podcasting…

…so the  next logical step…

Why not support your storytelling through innovative online multimedia (or even do uniquely online pieces)? Do you have plans for the TAL web site beyond just storing and organizing your radio stories?

Links: | In Pursuit of the Trivial

E-mail us if you have a question for Ira Glass to discuss or if you have insight on this one.

Question No. 7: “Will you be quiet?”

September 29, 2009

Ira Question | Written by Nathan Mattise

In less than 48 hours, I have a two-minute multimedia pieces due for class. It’s something the school values highly –  making all their new grad students produce one within weeks of coming to campus. Some do it successfully and others not so much. I’m hoping to be included in the former.

Naturally I sought out some of TAL on TV to inspire me on the production end (I wish I could find content like they do, my reach is simply not as far or as thorough at this point in time). Along with the multimedia work over at, there’s one immediate difference between what I saw and what I was instructed to aspire for…me.

This American Life uses narration in nearly everything. I can only recall an episode here or there that relies on old tapes to tell the story without a TAL storyteller. On TV (closer to the product I am trying to produce, it’s a Soundslides project), only the urban horseback riding story from Season II comes to mind as a story done solely through the source.

Faculty would laugh at me if I wrote a print story comprised only of quotes. I think my broadcast compadres would echo that sentiment. However, with Soundslides I am supposed to allow my sources to speak without filter or structure on my part. Yet, the folks I admire as storytellers are doing similar projects but repeatedly opting for narration.

I’m a bit confused…

Why do you opt for narration in a majority of your pieces on This American Life? If given ideal sources and an ideal story, would you still opt for it or is the Utopian goal a piece that stands solely on its own?

Links:| NHInteractive| Knight Digital Journalism

E-mail us if you have a question for Ira Glass to discuss or if you have insight on this one.

Question No. 4 (with a follow-up No. 5): “Wait, are you recording this?”

September 24, 2009

Ira Question | Written by Nathan Mattise

I received the following e-mail recently. I removed a few paragraphs and vague’d any specific identifiers to protect the confidentiality of this person, place and event (you’ll see why):

On [DATE], [FAMOUS LOCAL] will be in the [NEARBY CITY LOCATION] for a Q&A with students…

NOTE: Because this is an educational forum, [PERSON] would like to be able to speak candidly and off-the-record with students. Therefore we ask students “on the honor system” to refrain from recording this session on cell phones or video cameras, tweeting, blogging, etc.  This will not be an coverage opportunity for either professional or student media.  Please communicate this to students when you mention the appearance…

However, I feel it’s our obligation to make students aware of a guest’s wishes.  A student then has the right to ignore those wishes – just as a journalist can decide whether or not to respect a source’s request for anonymity — but at the risk of his or her own professional reputation…

I immediately wondered about being a major knowledgeable and influential celebrity in today’s digital age.  When Ira Glass comes through a town,  any and all academics and media enthusiasts come out and certainly bring their recorders/cameras/notebooks/smart phones. This American Life doesn’t exactly shy away from controversial subjects either.

So, if a local presentation could turn into a global message…

When making public appearances, do you find yourself avoiding certain topics all together or drastically diluting your thoughts? Are you worried about bloggers/citizen journalists/etc. creating unintended content?

Links: (None)

E-mail us if you have a question for Ira Glass to discuss or if you have insight on this one

Question No. 2: “Please describe in 140 characters or less…”

September 22, 2009

Ira Question | Written by Nathan Mattise

Maybe it’s just because I’ve been exposed to a lot of David Pogue hoopla in the past two days, but doesn’t Ira Glass seem a bit technologically nostalgic?  He’s embraced the podcast, but the latest route to provide insight and storytelling to fans is Twitter. Ira Glass does have an account, but he’s posted only two Tweets all time including:

Twitter / Ira Glass: This account will be on hi … via kwout

So, in a 140 characters or less…

With your interest in journalism and in keeping tabs on what’s interesting in everyday life, why have you personally passed on Twitter?

Links: Twitter| The Newshouse | Podcasting News

E-mail us if you have a question for Ira Glass to discuss or if you have insight on this one