The Game of Editorial Control
PhD in Media and Communications
From RMIT University
Program title: The Game of Editorial Control
Program guide synopsis: An experiment in journalism, online media and collective memory.
Synopsis: The Game of Editorial Control allows young people to experience the role of the journalist: to act both as reporter and editor. This project aims to create a bond between young people from diverse communities and students of journalism, media and communications, arts, design, film and web development. The Game’s goal is to create a Map of Knowledge of Melbourne. The players must research and document a given type of knowledge (e.g. art form, food recipe, physical or mental exercise, etc.); identify a location (in Melbourne) where such knowledge is found; and explain the origin and part of the story behind the person(s) sharing it.
Story lines: The Game of Editorial Control offers two different, yet interconnected story lines. On the one hand, there is the game as such, which is to be produced as a documentary-style realty show. In the game, the teams will be competing for the (temporary) editorial control of an online media, which includes a website and a GPS-based application, called the Map of Knowledge of Melbourne.
About the Participants
Group A – Young reporters and junior editors
This group consists of young people (aged 12 to 17) involved with community centres, organisations and schools interested in a unique, practice-based educational program on audio-visual production and online media publishing.
Group B – Team leaders
This group consists of university students in the areas of media and communications, journalism, photography, film, visual arts and web development; interested in developing a career in multimedia production and online publishing.
Group A: This group is both the main beneficiary of the program and the most active player in the game. They are the ones who will produce and publish the stories in the Map of Knowledge.
Group B: They are in charge of directing, supervising and editing the information that Group A produces. They are the most influential player in the game, as they have the responsibility to guide the development of the members of Group A throughout the game.
In their role as team leaders, the members of Group B will take care of the production plan for each of the stories to be included in the Map of Knowldege. For this purpose, they must also train the members of Group A, so they can successfully record, edit and publish the stories.
Episode Duration: 26 Minutes (TV half hour)
Length of Series: 13 Episodes
Audience: University and high school students. People interested in Melbourne’s multicultural background.
Classification: General (G)
Intended Distribution Outlets: TV or Youtube/Vimeo channel; Website; Mobile – GPS/Map Application.
Nature of Program Material: Educational, follow the conventions of documentary-style reality tv.
Pilot Episode Rundown: At the beginning, the participants are to be divided in (ideally) six teams, each team consisting of four members from Group A and two members from Group B. In the pilot episode, the teams should meet and prepare for their first story to be published in the Map. Hence, the team leaders should plan a brief, practice-based course, where they should introduce the basic notions of photography, audio-visual recording and editing. After this, the teams will gather in the first editorial meeting, where the team leaders will explain the production plan and assign the different roles for the members of Group A (i.e. camera operator, director, presenter/narrator, editor). Then, the teams will go on the field to record their first series of stories. The pilot episode will end with the publication of the first series of stories in the Map of Knowledge’s website and GPS/map application.
Series Rundown: The game as such will begin from the second episode onwards. From this point, the episodes will begin with a game editorial meeting (different to the team editorial meetings where the team leaders explain the production plan for the stories they must publish on the Map of Knowledge). In this meeting, the performance of the teams during the production of the stories published at the end of the pilot episode will be assessed. This assessment will be done based on the combination of a quantitative measurement and a qualitative review.
Quantitative Measurement: Relates to the number of visits, shares and other (related) statistical data from the Map of Knowledge’s website and GPS/map application, as well as other social media outlets (e.g. Twitter feed, Facebook page, Youtube Channel, etc.) that each team may use to promote their story in the Map of Knowledge. These statistics should provide a mark that will account to 50% of the final score.
Qualitative Review: The remaining 50% of the final score shall come from a review made by a jury. The jury may include scholars from the fields of journalism, media and communications, film and photography studies; as well as professional photographers, filmmakers and/or video artist and online publishers; it should also include members of the community whose stories are being told throughout the Game.
Editorial gain: The team that obtains the highest score will gain the editorial control of the Map of Knowledge’s website until the beginning of the next episode (when another game editorial meeting will take place). This means that during the given episode, this team will not be producing a new story for the Map of Knowledge. Instead, it will be in charge of designing, editing, publishing and updating of the first and subsequent editions of the Map of Knowledge’s central website. They will also be in charge of producing the following episode. This includes recording the jury’s assessment (from the Game’s central studio) and editing it together with selections of footage that each team must provide -where they document the process of producing the story for the Map of Knowledge.
Mentorship: During the whole series, each team will receive the guidance of different experts on the fields of audio-visual production and online journalism. These experts may also be part of the jury in charge of the qualitative review (which may also vary from one episode to the next).
Game development: The performance of the team that holds the editorial control of the central website during a given episode will also be assessed. This shall be done based on a similar process as the assessment of the teams’ performances (although the criteria for both the quantitative measurement and the qualitative review are likely to vary). From the third episode, the program shall begin with the assessment of the team who produced the previous episode (i.e the team that gain editorial control two episodes ago), then will come the assessment of the new stories published on the Map of Knowledge. This part should also include parts of the ‘behind the scenes’ documentation provided by each team. The leaders of all the teams, except for the one that is currently holding editorial control, must deliver a video no longer than 5 minutes, two days prior to the recording of the jury’s assessment.
The scores that the team receive during each episode (both when producing stories for the Map of Knowledge and when holding the editorial control of the game) will accumulate throughout the entire game (i.e. during the entire series).
For the production of Game: Each of the (ideally) six teams will need access to a video recording kit that should include: video camera, tripod and microphone. The program’s production will also need access to a studio where to record the editorial meetings and jury assessments, as well as video-editing facilities (i.e. computers and software), and should also have a budget for transportation.
The studio recordings should be accompanied by at least one technical supervisor and there should also be a professional in charge of revising the final version of each episode.
For the Map of Knowledge: A website with hosting and access to server; and the development of the GPS/map application (that should also be embedded into the website). There must be a webmaster in charge of the website’s administration and the operation of the GPS/map application.
Beneficiaries: The first and most immediate beneficiaries are the participants, who will have the opportunity to explore Melbourne’s vibrant multicultural nature, while learning the most important elements of audio-visual production and online publishing. The schools and institutions from where the participants come from will also receive ample benefits, not only because of the formative process that their students/patrons will go through, but because their involvement in this project may also represent a precise and relevant message to include in the promotion of their organisational values.
The communities from where the different types of knowledge (i.e. stories) included in the Map originate are also beneficiaries, because, as mentioned above, the ultimate goal of this project is to celebrate diversity and create bonds between different communities living in Melbourne. On the types of knowledge showcased in the Map may also represent the source of income of small businesses, which may receive a significant public exposure by being included in both the Game of Editorial Control and the Map of Knowledge.
The Game of Editorial Control is an idea inspired, in part, by my doctoral research; and in part by my experience traveling across Colombia, documenting the work (and part of the life) of a group of artisans. This work was originally commissioned by the Italian fashion house Marni and the Colombian company Manos Latinas. In a combined effort, these organisations have developed a social venture that offers work and promotes the exchange of knowledge between artisans from different regions of Colombia.
My doctoral dissertation -titled Journalism and Art in Digital Societies– questions the role of journalists and artists in the so-called digital societies of the early twenty-first century. It has been recently published by the German-based editorial: Scolar’s Press (available by clicking on the title above).
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