Amanda Koster

thoughts and experiences of an international documentarian

Posts Tagged ‘SxSW

Passion to tell a story is the jet fuel behind citizen journalism.

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“drocolate” of in-this-economy.com wanted to ask me (Amanda Koster) a few ?s about sxsw. Thought I’d share:

1. Why should I attend your core conversation at SXSW?

One example. Compare the velocity of media and societies responce of Katrina vs. Haiti.

listen to this:
http://salaamgarage.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/AmandaKoster_podcast_sxsw2010.mp3

Let’s see how far can we take this.

2. What makes you the right person to be conducting this convo?

I’m an outsider. I’m not from the tech arena. When I presented at Gnomedex in 2008, I did not have an iPhone, Twitter account nor did Facebook make much sense to me. I thought FB was innovative online dating. Since then I have been able to harness storytelling, social media and passion all for social change. If can d that, anyone can.

The passion to tell a story is the jet fuel behind citizen journalism. And it has been passion, not assignments, that got me here right now. I’ve been working as a photojournalist, writer, author for about 15 years though it has been my personal projects, again not assignments, that propelled my career and life beyond where I ever thought it could go.

Citizen journalism is more powerful than it could have ever been imagined and this is growing. The pendulum is swinging far to the left, and is still swinging.

Because I believe in these things makes me the perfect person (and Amanda Rose of Twestival) to lead this conversation.

3. What advice would you give to aspiring citizen journalists (other than attending your convo at SXSW, of course)?

Your personal stories and perspectives are more valuable than ever. Make GOOD content and get it out to a relevant audience. And, there’s more to it than that:

Have a plan. SalaamGarage builds relationships/projects/plans with NGOs farin advance. We do not advocate what I call ‘drive-by-shootings’  (just showing up, shooting photos, then jet).

Be authentic. We want intimacy. I think people are tired of the slick, heavily produced story. We see through it. With the wildfire of social media and intentionally constructed social communities, impersonal, glossy stories delivered by a generic, safe personality is rapidly loosing ground.

Be relevant. Not worth telling a story about t-shirts to a dog trainer. Even if it’s the most compelling t-shirt story ever. Be relevant and focused.
Know your audience. Tell them a story 1) you care about and 2)they want to hear.

Care. There are ‘hot’ stories to tell, but you outta care about it. I travel all over the world all the time with SalaamGarage and as an free-lance journalist. There are stories that resonate with me, and other that just don’t. The advantage of being a citizen journalist is that you get to choose your story, verses being assigned something that is not dear to you.

DO SOMETHING with it. Share. Everyone is sitting on a novel, but if a tree falls in the woods….. I’ll leave it at that.

I am very passionate about this and have a lot more (not big on advice) ideas around this topic, though, this is the topic of our conversation so come join the conversation.

4. Where is your dream location to take a citizen journalism project? Antarctica? Atlantis? Detroit? Where?’

The White House.

And if you want to be known as anything other than “Amanda Koster” please denote that as well.
?
Amanda Koster
@salaamgarage
amanda@salaamgarage.com
is that what you mean?
Or… Amanda Koster: professional storyteller, founder of SalaamGarage


Written by amandakoster

February 25, 2010 at 5:28 pm

wading thru images

with one comment

whoa. i made 7808 images in vietnam. man-o-man. digital.

if these were film days it would have been half as many. easily. we paid (differently) for each click back then. hard cash. now we pay with time. this is photography, the other side.

the beauty of digital is that i get to re-live my trip several times, as editing is a multiple-session (2-4ish hours at a time) process. with help: red wine, jetlag and pandora. this is good. reliving the experience.

had dinner with my friend becky tonight. we sat down and she asked me, ‘tell me about vietnam.’ i smiled.

you see, when we were skiing 3ish weeks ago i had just returned from south africa and she asked, ‘tell me about south africa.’ i looked at her, paused and said, ‘i can’t.’ like any really good friend she understood, nodded and we skied on.

this time i could tell her about vietnam. why? because yesterday, when i got home i could see the top of this specific mountain. i saw  a presentation and decided to submit a presentation to ignite seattle about my trip to vietnam (it helps that brady forrest -who kicks ass-  curator of ignite and web 2.0 punched me in the ribs at the last ignite and said ‘i wanna see you up there’ … he gets it). i may or may not be accepted, though i now have a goal, a presentation, a project where i can share my trip with images. this is how i express. whew.

i told becky about my presentation idea and she got it with very few words. ‘artists need to create, they need to express their experiences thru their medium. it’s how they work through life.’

bulls eye. so good to have friends, lovers, partners, etc., who understand us, isn’t it? in fact, it’s vital (for me).

luckily, i was asked to talk about my south africa experience at TEDx. thank god, as this will help… with that. so i am a happy, busy woman. this is where i belong, this is how i contribute.

so, wading through these images has been pretty emotional for me. it always is. i have to carve out time to do it, right away, after any project. i have a few upcoming interviews and presentations that will help. believe it or not, these SalaamGarage presentations (upcoming TEDx talk: 4/16, SxSW: 3/13, a few schools and buzz bruggemans ‘tertulia’ (private event) on 3/9 in seattle) help a lot. For me it is a way to process, create, share, EXPRESS and complete. guess this is why i used to do photo exhibitions. however, life is moving pretty fast right now for me…  so public speaking is my new exhibition. my book (and next one) helps a lot as well. ah. just figured that out as i write right now. i am grateful for every opportunity to present my experiences, as it helps me to process what i just saw.

and man, what i just saw was potent.

stay tuned.

Written by amandakoster

January 27, 2010 at 7:18 am