“Are you a genius or an idiot?”

Kate Nacy ist “European Journalism Fellow” bei der Freien Universität in Berlin und hat es sich zur Aufgabe gemacht, innovative Medienprojekte vorzustellen und ihren Machern möglichst freche Fragen zu stellen. Von mir wollte sie einiges über st_ry und über meine Meinung zum deutschen Fernsehen wissen. Weil ich einige ihrer Fragen so genial fand, veröffentliche ich mit ihrer Einwilligung das Interview hier:

How is st_ry going to work?

Basically it will be a web documentary consisting of 6 parts, each of which will be round about 10 minutes long. The special thing is, that our funders will be able to see the steps we take in the research on our research blog and will be able to interact with us.

They can comment on the interviews we take, send us links and hints, we plan on votings and feedback possibilities. In the end it is supposed to be a documentary that is developed for the community and with the community.

Have you started?

Yes, we started the research and I have started posting on my personal blog as the research blog isn’t quite finished yet. When I attended re:publica I met with people who are experts on the topic of data privacy (is that the correct term?) and interviewed them. You can read the entries here.

Stellt gern freche, aber lustige Fragen: Kate Nacy

Stellt gern freche, aber lustige Fragen: Kate Nacy

In what ways will your audience be involved in the documentary’s development?

We are available via social media (e.g. twitter, facebook, tumblr), so everybody can talk to us and send us feedback. The funders will have access to the full research blog and can comment there. We also plan on votes for example on whom to interview next, which topic to treat and so on.

Why do you want to do this?

Short answer: Because it’s possible and I want to experiment with these possibilities. And because it’s fun. I like talking to my audience.

On an emotional scale of 1-10, how furious were you when you found out you had to report on data protection instead of going on dates for 3 months straight? (1 = not furious 10 = setting hospitals on fire)

True answer: -10. It wasn’t exactly my idea (my producers came up with it) and since I have been online dating last year like a madman I was pretty sick of it. Dating 99 people would have been aweful lot of work, it would have meant having 16,5 dates a month or a date every other day.

At some point I would have lost all the interest in my date so I was pretty relieved when the crowd voted for other things. I would have liked to do the food thing. But data privacy is pretty interesting as well.

You seem to want to make TV journalism better. Why? Are you suggesting, for some reason, that it’s depressing or one-sided and that life’s complexities can’t be both portrayed and resolved in neat, 30-minute news spots even if the reporters are supermodel attractive and travel everywhere via helicopter?

Yes I am suggesting that it is pretty one-sided at some times and I am suggesting that life’s complexities should not be ignored any longer. It came to my full attention when I was doing a piece on a very complex topic and had to ignore half of the complexity because the producers and editors had the opinion that it would have been to complex for the average viewer.

BTW: I would love to fly everywhere via helicopter.

What’s TV news like in Germany? Strengths/weaknesses?

Strenghts: Objective, smart, up to date, not influenced by anyone (normally).

Weakness: Boring, oldschool, not trying to explain complex things but instead only reporting them, lack of analysis.

You said somewhere that German television is stuck in the 90s. What does that mean?

It means that german TV is sucessfully ignoring the possibilites of the internet which at some point in the future could seal their fate. The broadcasters behave the same way the publishers did in the 90ies.

“Don’t look at the internet and don’t experiment with it, maybe it’s going away then.” seemed to have been the motto. There are attempts to deal with the internet but most of the time it’s just being treated as the little stepsister of TV.

You think TV news lacks nuance, right? Are you a genius or an idiot?

Great question. :-) Maybe I am both, maybe I am an idiot for believing I could be such a genius that I can implement the nuancesof reality instead of making scandalous reports and blaming everybody that is not of my opinion for being an idiot.

On the one hand I can see on my blog that writing black-and-white-yellowpress-posts and -rants attracts more readers than publishing interviews on privacy issues. On the other hand I don’t want to give up the nuances just because the other thing is more popular (and more easy to understand).

Any other innovative new media/journalism projects/people I should look into?

Take a look at my mate Tilo Jung’s interview thing “Jung und naiv”. Check out Richard Gutjahr. He is always doing cool stuff. Look at ZDF check, a crowdsourcing factchecking platform by ZDF. Maybe you have seen Ehrensenf, which has been around for some time but still is a good idea.

Can you provide a description of the events which inspired this image? Asking for a friend.

We took that picture when shooting the crowdfunding video for st_ry. You can also see it in the video. It is supposed to be a metaphore for us being more or less naked on the internet by using social media and all the other stuff. Plus it was a cheap try to get attention for the project.

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