Stories you won't see on the network news…is "network" even relevant any more?

I go to a lot of networking/social events where I meet very creative, talented people working in the new social media, and I learn a lot from them. Last night at the regular monthly “CreativeConnects” mixer sponsored by BOSS Group, I met Brian Conley, a filmmaker and freelance journalist who recently relocated to Philadelphia after spending quite some time in Iraq and other hot spots.

Brian is one of the leaders of a citizen-journalism project called Alive in Baghdad. They have professional, native Iraqi videojournalist teams on the ground in Iraq, filming stories of everyday life in Iraq by actually (note to Brian Williams and the rest of the MSM) going out and TALKING TO REAL PEOPLE. They don’t do their nightly reports from the balcony of the hotel while waiting for room service to bring dinner.

Alive in Baghdad’s latest video is a story about a Baghdad printing plant that employs 900 people, including what seems to be a fair number of women, but the government has decided to shut them down for some reason. They’ve done other stories, like on the scene features about how Sunni Muslim Iraqis are now partnering with the US to fight the so-called “Al Qaeda” insurgency. We don’t see much real reporting on these stories on ABC, CBS, NBC, or CNN.

AIB supports itself like public television, through viewer sponsorships and donations. You can subscribe right on the site and even make monthly donations through PayPal.

If I have any quibbles with the approach, I’d like to see some voice-over context that explains the story — they do this in the show notes on the site, but there needs to be some narrative beyond the subtitled, cinema verite video style, to make it a more contained report and less free-flowing, but the point is this.

With creative, resourceful, indigenous journalists able to produce stories this well crafted, why can’t the mainstream media, with all of their vast resources, keep up? What are they thinking up at 30 Rock and these other temples of mainstream broadcasting?

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