Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Any room for collaboration

Terranova and Jenkins made me think about the possible ways that big media corporations and the users of their content (both as consumers and producers) could enter into a more collaborative or symbiotic relationship. Both Jenkins and Julie pointed out how corporations are learning how to harness user-generated content for their own benefit while offering little in return. Any benefit to the users usually comes in the form of elevating a select few while leaving the rest back where they started. Unlike Jenkins though, I think it is possible for the power structure to relax in such a way that media corporations and their users could mutually benefit from one another. Such an idea is being pursued this semester at Brown by a few of my friends. To summarize it in brief, these students have partnered with the National Urban Debate League, a non-profit, and Weinstein, a media corporation, to use one of its soon to be released films, the Great Debaters, as a platform to promote and strengthen urban debate. Part of their project is to coordinate a YouTube based debate and contest around issues stirred up in the film surrounding urban debate. Weinstein will benefit from the user-generated content on YouTube through added publicity for its film, and promoters of urban debate can hijack the film to communicate the importance of urban debate to the general public and as a way to reach out to inner city youth themselves.

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