Echo Chamber Project Vlog Episode 1: Introduction

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Introducing the first Echo Chamber Project video blog entry & vlog!

Description: First vlog episode about an open source, investigative documentary on how the television news became an uncritical echo chamber to the countdown towards war in Iraq -- and proposed tools for collaborative journalism that can provide some solutions.

Featuring: Jay Rosen, Dan Gillmor, Doc Searls, Jonathan Landay, Pamela Hess, Bill Plante, Halley Suitt, Marilyn Schlitz, Kent Bye and 60 others.

To Watch the Video click here -- or on the picture below -- or try here if that link doesn't work. Check back in 10-15 minutes if neither work, the Internet Archive has been a bit spotty.

Sit back, relax and enjoy the show!


(6:15 minutes / 15 MB)
Download QuickTime

Listed below is

* A full transcript of this video with additional links
* How to keep informed with the project (Vlog RSS / Blog RSS)
* How to get more involved
* Click here & scroll to the bottom to leave feedback or other comments.

If you enjoyed this video, then you can have future Echo Chamber Project videos automatically delivered to you with this RSS feed:

Just copy & paste the URL above into iTunes' "Advanced" > "Subscribe to Podcast..." window. For more details, watch Andrew Baron's instructional video on Subscribing to Rocketboom's feed with iTunes.

Or here's another program that allows you to automatically download videos by using RSS subscription feeds -- FireANT (includes instructional video).

UPDATE: The feed should work in FireANT now. It was having troubles, but I modified some Drupal code to make it work. More details here.

Three things you can do to get more involved with this project:

* Sign up as a user to this website in the left-hand column to receive periodic e-mail updates and join the community.
* This page will aggregate the latest things you can do to get involved.
* You can make a financial donation to help fund the development of the open source tools to facilitate collaborative media by contributing to this PayPal account.


Picture Transcript
Picture of Vlog Title

Echo Chamber Project Title Sequence [Photo Credit: chamomile remixed by Jen Gouvea & Kent Bye]

Kent Bye (MetaThought Productions): My name is Kent Bye, and I'm a documentary filmmaker

Kent Bye: Can you hear me?
Jen Gouvea: [Offscreen] Yep.

Kent Bye: I've got this film, and a lot it's criticizing -- about the media, but I didn't just want to -- just like have this big rant about "The media is really screwed up" -- Everyone knows the media is screwed up. I'm trying to do something about. I'm trying to like find some viable alternatives.

Jay Rosen (New York University / PressThink): The world is not going to be the same for the major media in five or ten years -- That much I'm convinced of. [Full Interview]

Kent Bye: This isn't too bright or anything? You see, that's what I'm thinking. It might not -- like --

Dan Gillmor (Grassroots Media, Inc.): The traditional mass media are a lecture. And we're evolving media into something in between a conversation and a seminar with some lecture as well.

Doc Searls (Doc Searls Weblog): You know, the conversational mode of relating to each other is as old as humanity, but it's actually new to what we call "Media."

Kent Bye: This project takes a look at how the ABC, CBS and NBC newscasts became an "Echo Chamber" to the countdown towards war in Iraq. And how I produce the film will provide some collaborative alternatives that can make media more inclusive of different perspectives and points of view.

Jonathan Landay (Knight Ridder National Security Correspondent) And it was a failure of most major media to delve behind -- in a meaningful way -- the administration’s rationale for going to war -- the intelligence that it was using to make it’s case. [Full Interview]

Pamela Hess (United Press International Pentagon Correspondent): I don’t think I ever doubted that there was going to be a war. There was a lot of talk about how "No decision has been made." But -- I don't -- Maybe we’re just too cynical, but all of the entire press corps at the Pentagon was just kind of looking at our watches and wondering when it was going to be. There was never any doubt, I think, in any of our minds that it was an "if."

Tom Brokaw (NBC Nightly News): Target: Iraq

Peter Jennings (ABC World News Tonight):The Road to Possible War

Dan Rather (CBS Evening News): Showdown with Saddam

Bill Plante (CBS News White House Correspondent): 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. [Full Interview]

Kent Bye: [Screaming]

Halley Suitt (Halley's Comment Blog): People want to know how things feel. I don't know why it's driving it in that direction, but I know that it is going that direction.

Dr. Marilyn Schlitz ("Consciousness & Healing"): You cannot separate out what happens inside of us -- our belief systems, our worldviews -- from the nature of the world in which we're embedded. And this is true for journalism. It's true for medicine. It's true for science. It's true for every domain of human inquiry -- where we know that as thinking, feeling human beings we're much more complicated than just the biological, mechanistic aspects of our being.
Collaborative Filmmaking Flowchart

Kent Bye: I'm trying to do collaborative media that's scalable and profitable for big organizations to do it.

Kent Bye: Why not just get all of the information out there? I can open source all of the text of the interviews. I could release the audio at some point with podcasts. And eventually, when the film is done, I could release the video so that people could remix it in whatever way they wanted to. They could add more conservative voices, or more progressive voices, or whatever voices they want to.


Dan Gillmor: In think in general. on any beat at any publication or broadcast, the readers by definition know more than any individual reporter

Kent Bye: So collectively, my audience knows more than I do. And there are technologies that can tap into the wisdom of this crowd. Websites like or Technorati use something called "Folksonomy Tags" to add context and meaning to webpages.

Kent Bye: Folksonomies could also be used to add context and meaning to film sound bites in order to facilitate collaborative editing.

Doc Searls: Right now we're in a model where lots and lots of people are capable of inventing exactly what they want to do what they want, and then sharing it.

Kent Bye: My website is running the open source community software called "Drupal." This allows the creation of specific tools to facilitate collaborative media. These tools can then be shared with any other website that's running Drupal or CivicSpace.

Halley Suitt: I think a blogger's mantra could be, "Whatever else you do, bring intelligence to the network and share it. Make the network more intelligent."
Jen Gouvea & Kent Bye

Kent Bye: So we went out and interviewed the following journalists, media critics and other scholars about the performance of the mainstream media leading up to the war in Iraq. These are the interviews that volunteers have been helping me transcribe so that I could post them on my website. [Photo Credit: Sam Holden]
Echo Chamber Project Interview Composite (big)

Journalists: Bill Plante, Jonathan Landay, Warren Strobel, Julian Borger, Helen Thomas, Greg Mitchell, John R. MacArthur, Pamela Hess, Amy Goodman, Jim Lobe, Verna Avery Brown, Robert Dreyfuss, Jack Nelson, Lawrence Grossman, Tom Rosenstiel
Media Critics: Steve Rendall, Cliff Kincaid, Danny Schechter, Andrew Tyndall
Journalism Professors: Susan Moeller, Todd Gitlin, Jay Rosen
Think Tank Scholars: Michael O'Hanlon, Grover Norquist, Cliff May, David Sirota, John Prados, Joyce Battle, Thomas Donnelly
International Law: Ruth Wedgwood, Phyllis Bennis, James Paul, Sean Murphy
Retired Government Analysts: Greg Thielmann, Ray McGovern, John H. Brown, Karen Kwiatkowski
Other Experts: Reed Brody, Nathalie Loiseau, Damu Smith, Afaf Stevens, Christopher Queen, Sulak Sivaraksa, Gola Wolf Richards

Kent Bye: So I interviewed all of these people about where media is at, but what about the future of the media? What about all of these New Media technologies?
New Media Interviewees
Markos Moulitsas, Jeff Jarvis, Hugh Hewitt, Dan Gillmor, Chris Nolan, Halley Suitt, Rebecca MacKinnon, Doc Searls, Mindy Finn, Sheldon Rampton, Christopher Rabb, Scott Heiferman, Hossein Derakhashan

Kent Bye: How can you make a media that is more integral and holistic?
Media & Consciousness Interviewees
Don Beck, James O’Dea, Marilyn Schlitz, Dean Radin, Fred Alan Wolf, Lynne Twist, Susan Davis, Peter Russell, Duane Elgin, Sharif Abdullah, Van Jones

Kent Bye: You know, this media revolution is just starting to begin. And I look forward to hearing your insights for how we can make a better media.

Music Credit: Telekinetic Soulmate "Searching" courtesy of Defective Records -- Thanks buMp

Good Vlog!

Good Vlog!

Great job!!!!

wish you success in this. First project looks great. Ann Morton

I think this is awe inspiring.

I really get what you are doing on a media level. Technically I haven't got a clue of how it could work though. I'd be really interested in hearing HOW it works. Three things jump to my mind:
- I teach interactive media and now vlogging at the college of arts in utrecht, holland, and would like to be able to inform my students more about your project and how it works.
- Look at at Peter van Dijk's presentation on mefeedia as he talks briefly about how to use a future mefeedia to tag in sections of a vlog posting.
- Do you mind us using some of your material on our vlog to get people interested in an upcoming episode.

Really looking forward to where you are going with this.

kentbye's picture

More on HOW it will work

Hey Gabe Mac,
I'm still developing the infrastructure for how it will work, but it basically comes down to this:

* I parse the interview footage into sound bites in Final Cut Pro.
* I import the XML data for each sound bite into Drupal
* Each sound bite becomes a unique URL
* Each sound bite can then be tagged and rated.
* Users filter through all of the sound bites using tags, and reading through interviews, etc.
* Volunteers copy good sound bites into sequences that also serve as bins (i.e. folders).
* Volunteers reorder the sound bites within the sequence to make paper edits of sound bite sequences
* These paper edits can then exported back into Final Cut Pro XML and then converted into real edits on my local computer.
* I'm also looking into whether it's possible to dynamically edit these sequences (using flash or muxing QT/WMV streams).
* There could be a way for volunteers to rate edited sequences.
* In the end, I hope to get a lot of input from volunteers on how to extract strands of meaning from the mass of footage that I've accumlated.

So this is where I'm currently at with HOW it's coming together.

I watched Peter's presentation on tagging and that is news that Mefeedia will be able to tag a specific section WITHIN a video. That would certainly be useful for me as well for what I'm doing with using tags for collaborative editing.

And no, I don't mind if you use some of my vlog material on to get more people interested in what I'm doing.



I think we're all just starting to realize the limitless possibilities of where media is least I'm beginning to realize it...others, like yourself, seem miles ahead. I think this video is proof of that. I'm going to continue to watch, and hopefully participate in future echo project collabs.

Great project!

Kent -

Congrats on the first step in what appears to be a pioneering effort, and one which holds great promise. It's time we took this "new media" thing to the logical next step, and your ideas about collaboration and a more accessible open-source approach couldn't have come at a better time.

Best of luck...I'll be watching and, I hope, participating!

Congrats on your first post

Kent, that was an excellent first post. you've definitely got my attention. It was well edited, very interesting, had a lot of interesting names and people, and well framed the project. The project has a great premise and open access business model. One I've been waiting to see some one utilize for a while. It will be very interesting to see where this goes, I'm very excited, best of luck.

-Mike of

Great Video

Amazing video. Linked from Eric rice. I am subscribing to see whats next. Keep up the good work....

echochamber doc


excellent work. this form is exactly what I hoped to see start emerging with videoblogging and the content, the focus on the media's role in the iraq war, is perfect.

please keep this up and thanks for all the hard work you've done so far.

I've seen lots of videoblogs, but this is one of the few that excites me.

Chris Weagel

kentbye's picture

I'm excited as well

Thanks for the feedback Chris,
I'm excited as well for all of possibilities for experimenting with small-scale and large-scale collaboration with this project.

The pre-war time period is packed with a lot of politically contentious and emotionally loaded content, and I think it'll help drive interest for look at what the mainstream media does well and doesn't do well.

And it'll be a perfect opportunity to show what citizen's media can produce when it taps into the wisdom of the crowd and energy from the edge of the network.

this video was great.

this video was great. really well done, totally impressive interviews & ideas put forth. i cannot wait to see what more you produce. so excited for this project! keep it up!

kentbye's picture

Thanks Mariah

Thanks Mariah,
I'm sitting on so much great footage that could never fit into a single 90-minute film. I hope to explore a lot of issues about the media, and alternative ways of producing media here on the site.

It sounds like you're as excited about the possibilites as I am.

Spread the word.