Monday, February 6, 2012

Why I Want to be a Social Media Journalist

A few posts back, I laid forth an idea for a business, where I would buy a van, a computer or two, a few cameras, a wifi router, and then go out and about the world whoring myself making video to be posted on youtube. I want to take a moment to talk about why I want to do this.

First, it's a source of income. Yes, I'll need to borrow to make it happen, but based on what I've read on the youtube site, it's possible to make substantial amounts of money through partnering with youtube. I also suggested building a web site with live streaming video and selling ad space there.

Second, it's a chance to leave a lasting impression. I'm a writer, primarily, and my writing has not taken off yet, so how then can I be remembered after I'm gone? By making a video that goes viral. Maybe making many videos that go viral. It doesn't take much. I could film cats in cute positions all day and post that and probably make a lot of money. But being homeless, I don't have a cat.

Even so, this is not how I want to be remembered. In the late '90's I took several Broadcast Journalism courses, and even worked at two television stations behind the scenes. I would have loved to be behind the camera during a live event back then, but I was stuck in the studio, behind a camera, editing video, running a CHYRON and an audio board, popping tapes in and out of a player. I was, for a brief time, an Associate Director, which meant I ran the board that actually displays the videos on-air. Unfortunately, my dexterity and the patience of the producer proved to be less than optimal. I still loved the whole news.journalism thing, and though I got out of the field, I'd like to join it again - on my terms.

Third, I want to be there as events unfold this year. If the Mayans are right (and who am I to argue with an extinct race of humans) 2012 will likely be one of the busiest news years ever. Even without the Mayans, things are happening all over the world that need someone to record them. Much of the mainstream media is ignoring, or worse, putting down the Occupy movement, which I think is a very bad idea. We have a Presidential election going on, and two conventions that need an impartial eye watching not only the candidates, but the people around the conventions: protesters, law enforcement, the movers and shakers of Washington. I want to be there for those events and make some money from them!

Fourth, lest you think I'm attention whore, I'd like to cover other parts of the American way of life: baseball games, football games, basketball, hockey and not just professional. I'd like to travel from city to city, town to town and take the pulse of America. It has been too many years since we saw something along the line of 'On the Road with Charles Kuralt.' I'd like to cover major and minor events. Since I'm a geek, I'd like to cover geeky stuff, like anime conventions, Doctor Who, ComicCon, and the like. And then I'd like to post the results on youtube and make some money on it.

The goal for the first year of operation, other than covering the conventions, is to hit every Major League ball park for a game and a tour, and to look at what kind of people go to those games. I'd like to do the same for NFL football, the NBA and the NHL.

And if in my travels I happen to be around when a major news story breaks, well then I'll have the privilege of covering that, maybe even exclusively. I want to cover social issues that are near and dear to me, like the Occupy movement, like the homeless situation in each city or town I breeze through. I want people to see what's really happening in America.

Fifth, I want to host and moderate Google Plus Hangouts with people who have ideas, or people who have educated opinions on the events of the day, who have answers to the questions that people are asking, like what the hell's a Google Hangout anyway? I'd like that to be done on a daily basis.

And finally, I want to travel like I haven't done in years, and really, like I've never done. I feel restless staying in one place too long, and there is so much of America and especially the world that I haven't seen and experienced. I want to experience other cultures, other ways of thinking within this country that I love so dear. I've traveled quite a bit, born in France, moving from state to state and country to country as an Air Force Brat. I want to travel more.

So this is what I want to do. I want to be the most objective, impartial journalist I can be. What do I need? Really, all I need is a van, a high quality camera, a high quality computer (Mac Book Pro!), and access to the internet through cell or satellite systems.

Do I need $100,000 like I asked for? No, not really. But it's nice to have a cushion to fall back on, so that I can take a few weeks to prepare for my journey and not be in the shelter. So that I can buy a new van with a warranty, and can afford the insurance for it. So that I can get the health care things that I need for a healthy body, eyes and mouth. I need glasses. I need to get my teeth fixed. Can I work without them? Well, not the glasses. I need them to drive. Teeth? Maybe. But I'd make a better impression with a mouth full of shiny white teeth than a mouth full of what I have now.

So the call goes out again. I could use help setting up a business plan that will get me a shot at a loan. I could use a co-signer because my credit sucks. If you want to donate equipment, I can do that. If you want to donate or lend money, it would be appreciated and paid back.

I'm trying my best to gather all the tools I need to do this by myself, but even the most affluent people needed help at some point in their lives. So I'm asking for help. Can you please help me? Can you make a difference in the life of someone who has struggled and now only wants a chance to make a difference himself?