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DIY video: telling stories

We’ve spent much of the past 150 years working to achieve full literacy across the globe.  Information has historically been widely disseminated via the written word:  so, much knowledge required the ability to read,  or have someone who’s judgment you trust relay that information to you.  More important still, if you wanted to produce information, you needed to know how to write.  Crucially, ‘knowing how to write’ means more than just knowing the letters or spellings of words – it’s knowing how to tell a story, one that people will listen to.

In today’s world, information is spread through different means.  Most often, this is video:  TV a main source of news in the US.  Video is very different from text – there are many more elements, more complexities, more tools needed, and some may argue that it is more powerful in conveying message – but in the end, just like writing, it’s about telling stories.  Also just like writing, in order to enter into the conversation and be heard, individuals need to be literate – now, media literate.  Henry Jenkins highlights that beyond access to technologies, we all – and particularly the young people – must learn to be media literate.  How do you tell an effective story, one that will be watched and listened to, with video?  How do you tell your story?

KECT – Los Angeles Community TV –  is doing just this, teaching high school students how to tell their stories and represent their neighborhood.  Mass media images of Los Angeles tend to focus on either the glitz of Hollywood or the violence in the inner city.  Juan Davis explained how KECT set out to show a different LA LA, first by telling stories of a communities and individuals, and next by empowering communities and individuals to tell their own story.   The stories we see on KECT portray a true, positive alternative vision of LA communities.  What do you do when your voice and the your stories are missing from the media? 

Do it yourself. 

 – Miriam Simun