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Status Update

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I sent out a notice with to my volunteer transcribers today. There are 26 outstanding transcripts that should really start to flow in within the next 2-3 weeks.

I have another 16 to interviews to load in and ship out, but I have to back up my harddrive first and I'm working on the business plan. This is the bottleneck to what funders, potential producers and fiscal sponsors will want to see.

I'm researching self-distribution options for my business plan -- It could turn out that the open-source content development model may be a valuable marketing tool that allow me to bypass the normal routes of getting a distributor to take care of getting this film into the hands of Americans. This is still a decision that can be made down the road when the film is shaping up and I am able to get more feedback to help me know what'll work best.

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Michael O'Hanlon Transcript Now Posted

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Volunteer Citizen Journalist Nanci Miller has completed the Michael O'Hanlon transcription. O'Hanlon is a Defense Analyst for The Brookings Institute and frequent guest on NBC news and occassionally on the ABC and CBS nightly newscasts.

Here is one of the more prolific think tank scholars. He is a liberal hawk who was in favor of confronting Saddam. He says, "I had one of the more probably complex sets of views on Iraq, and so I was not always trying to maintain a single position."

He's got an interesting take on the war, and criticizes the Bush Administration for not trying harder to get a second resolution at the United Nations. But his critique comes from a political perspective and not a legal one. He is essentially still supportive of going to war and was upset that we couldn't get more allies to go along with this misadventure.

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Harnessing the Power of Emotions

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I had a volunteer transcriber write in the following comment about my last e-mail message, "Kent, I hate to tell you, but if you are placing your confidence in facts clearly communicated in even the simplest terms, you are heading for a HUGE disappointment."

She’s right, and I’m hoping to make my film more than just a stream of facts. That doesn’t work. The presentation of the facts must be done in an emotionally satisfying way to be truly effective.

Barry Richard’s article is called "Emotional Deficit in Political Communication" and it gives insight as to how to the emotional nature of our popular culture has infiltrated our political discourse. (Political Communication, 21:339-352, 2004)

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Post-Election Vision for The Echo Chamber

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Here is a message I just sent out to my volunteers:

Greetings all,

I hope you're all taking some time to grieve this loss.

It has been such a heartbreaking week to see the exploitation of so-called moral values pardon an endless list of Bush's sins.

I thought I'd share some thoughts on the election, and try to frame current events in the context of what it means to be volunteering for this project.

I wish it didn't end up this way, but clearly The Echo Chamber is something that is needed now more than ever.

I hope that this project can be used a tool to help bring back rationality and critical thinking to this extremely irrational situation.

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Data Back-Up


An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Therefore, I will be backing up all of my data to DVDs over the next couple of weeks. I am waiting for the blank DVD+R's to come in the mail.

The footage takes a while to load in, and it would be a lot of lost time if something happened to my hardware and I had to load everything in again.

In the meantime, I am going to be doing some outreach to potential funders and tuning up my business plan.

I will also be eagerly awaiting the completion of 23 outstanding transcripts. I have 7 more interviews ready to ship out -- 4 of which will go out tomorrow and the other 3 will be sent out as soon as I receive the NDA and address.

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PBS on Political Docs

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The Independent Television Service, which funds a lot of PBS documentaries, just sent out their newsletter which talks about why political documentaries are becoming so popular.

A key impetus for most of the films discussed here, and Uncovered, Hijacking [Catastrophe] and Bush’s Brain, in particular, is getting information and points of view to the American people that have been ignored by the mainstream media in general and television news in particular. Increasingly, moviegoers are looking to documentary filmmakers for the kind of investigative journalism and behind-the-scenes reports that were once the province of the networks. Relying on grants and television funding but in no one’s employ, independent filmmakers uncover and pursue stories without worrying about upsetting advertisers, embarrassing a board of directors or violating prime-time or parental guidelines.

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Bill Plante Transcript Now Posted

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Volunteer Citizen Journalist Ben Tupper has completed the first Echo Chamber Project transcription with the interview with CBS White House correspondent Bill Plante.

Here is the link to the interview:

[img_assist|fid=2|thumb=0|alt=Echo Chamber Documentary Interviews]

"But if you take it as a given, as I've already suggested to you that we did, that the administration was hell-bent on going to war, then you could only point out the steps that were being taken down that path."

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Transcription Update


Attention all transcribers,
A volunteer transcriber passed along the draft of the non-disclosure agreement to one of her laywer colleagues to look over.

As soon as I get that back, I'll send it out and have you send it back to me.

I am also trying to do a little fundraising to reach my goal of raising $4000 by December 15th.

I have also secured a couple of advisors for the project and I'm working on a few more.

I have loaded 14 interviews into the computer and I have sent out two interviews to some friends who I trust won't publish the audio. They should begin transcribing the

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Traffic Surge & Lobbying Journalists

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Thanks to wah at Quantum Philosophy for the plug over at the Daily Kos comments.

In my brief effort to start promoting the site a couple of weeks ago, I asked him to help spread the word.

I have received a couple of volunteer researchers from his plug including a "third-year measurement and statistics graduate student." Awesome.

Someone noticed my mention of lobbying journalists in the comments. I have alerted a number of investigative journalists that I interviewed about my timelines (UPDATE June 6, 2005: these timelines currently offline), but I'm not sure if anyone is using them yet.

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Project Advisor: Brian Newman

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Today I secured my first advisor for the film.

Brian Newman is going to help guide the project through the post-production phases. He brings a wealth of knowledge to the project, and I'm very excited to have him involved.

This Brian's bio taken from the website of his current employeer:

Brian Newman was recently named executive director of National Video Resources, and is responsible for oversight and strategic direction of all NVR programming, development and operations. Prior to joining NVR, he served as executive director of IMAGE Film & Video Center, producers of the Atlanta Film Festival, and as market coordinator for the Independent Feature Project in New York City. Mr. Newman also served as assistant coordinator of Media Arts for the South Carolina Arts Commission, managing the Southern Circuit film tour. He brings expertise in audience building, marketing and community outreach.
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