Welcome to The Echo Chamber Project


The Echo Chamber Project is an open source, investigative documentary about how the television news media became an uncritical echo chamber to the Executive Branch leading up to the war in Iraq.

By developing collaborative techniques for producing this film, then this project can potentially provide some solutions for incorporating a broader range of voices and perspectives into the mainstream media.

* Here's the Plan for How to Implement Collaborative Filmmaking
* Get involved by starting to listen to individual Audio Interviews or by subscribing to the Audio or All Media feed.
* Also start reading through the transcripts of the 86 interviews conducted so far.
* There are also other ways to volunteer and help out the project
* You can find the latest updates on the blog
* Some interesting press pieces can be found in this pre-preproduction cover story, this conversation with Madge Weinstein and this story & interview by Robin Good.
* More information About The Echo Chamber Project
* Here's more info about Kent Bye
* CONTACT: ...

kentbye's picture

Echo Chamber Project Receives A $55,000 Grant


I'm happy to report that through a series of connections that The Echo Chamber Project has received a $55,000 grant for the next year of operations. Below is the text of the four-page grant that I submitted to the foundation, who prefers to remain anonymous.

I am also pleased to report that I have made it past the first round of the Knight Brothers 21st Century News Challenge competition, and am in the process of submitting a full proposal.

The Echo Chamber Project explores collaborative investigative filmmaking by using new media technologies as well as a repository of original video interviews with journalists and scholars. It is a project that details the limitations of American journalism while at the same time embodying innovative solutions through collaborative media production. In short, it is an independent filmmaker's "YouTube" combined with "Wikipedia" for serious journalism.

Radical innovation is needed in order to discover both sustainable business models for hard-hitting investigative journalism as well as new ways of maintaining influence and audience attention with trustworthy content. The Echo Chamber Project explores the two key trends of Online Video and Tapping into Collective Intelligence through Citizen Participation.

Continued below is a brief overview of the history and scope of the Echo Chamber Project, as well as a funding request for a total of $55,000 for the next year of operations...

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Breaking Radio Silence with a Quick Update

I just wanted to break the four-month radio silence here on the blog to let folks know that I intend on releasing some alpha-level collaborative editing functionality with the 15 journalist interviews.

I'm addressing some bugs and getting things ready to start having some folks help filter, tag, edit and sequence together sound bite segments. More details soon...


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Echo Chamber Project's Collaborative Editing Demonstration at Vloggercon

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Watch Quicktime Video | Watch Flash Video

This is my demonstration of the collaborative editing workflow for The Echo Chamber Project during the Politics and Social Change Session during the first day of Vloggercon. Total run time is 9:15.

This software demonstration is at the prototype phase, and I'm transitioning to a private alpha and then a public beta over the next couple of months.

Please sign up as a user if you're interested in getting more involved with the project as it evolves.

More background information can be found in this post: Iterative Media: Treating Collaborative Media Like Open Source Code

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Video: Media, Politics & Social Change: An Overview of The Echo Chamber Project

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Flash Version

This video provides explains how the media fits into political and social change and specifically addresses the following questions:

* How is the Press supposed to Work?
* How and why does the Press act like an Echo Chamber?
* How is media changing?
* What does it mean that the "news is becoming a conversation"?
* Will these new media changes affect the nature of politics?
* How does The Echo Chamber Project fit into all of this?

Featuring: Amy Goodman, Lawrence Grossman, Jim Lobe, Jonathan Landay, Richard Sambrook, Jay Rosen, Dan Gillmor, Jeff Jarvis, Doc Searls & Merrill Brown.

You can subscribe to the Interview Audio here or browse it here.

Additional interview transcripts are here.

Sign up as a user here.

kentbye's picture

New Computer Arrived


My new Macintosh was delivered today!

As I mentioned yesterday:

I had to purchase a faster Macintosh with more RAM and a better video card, and it should be arriving tomorrow. The straw that broke the camel's back was that my current machine doesn't have enough hardware to run Final Cut Pro 5.0. And even if I just upgraded that hardware, my computer doesn't have a fast enough processor to run Motion 2.0 -- which can create a lot more dynamic and animated graphics.

So I'm excited to get my new hardware up and running so that I can start figuring the details for interfacing Final Cut Pro's XML capabilities with Drupal for collaborative editing.

I'm also excited to start getting some audio and video out there.

kentbye's picture

Echo Chamber Project Vlog & Podcast Coming Soon

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Videoblogging pioneer Chuck Olsen announces (via The Last Minute) that the new iTunes 4.9 features the capability to watch videoblogs (vlogcasts) along well as podcasts. What does this mean? Olsen says, "it could change everything and introduce videoblogs to the masses."

The word on the street seems to be that this iTunes feature doesn't have nearly as much functionality as the FireANT software where users can subscribe to vlog RSS feeds and have it automatically download videos.

But this latest development fits with the proliferation of personalized video and audio online that was identified by many of the New Media leaders that I interviewed at the Personal Democracy Forum. Vlogs and podcasts are going to be a lot more prevalent over the next 5-10 years, and culture is no longer going to come strictly from the centralized mass media.

So it's time to jump on the bandwagon and start using vlogs and podcasts to collaboratively produce my documentary on the failures of the mainstream media. I might as well be one of the early adopters of these new media technologies.

I had to purchase a faster Macintosh with more RAM and a better video card, and it should be arriving tomorrow. The straw that broke the camel's back was that my current machine doesn't have enough hardware to run Final Cut Pro 5.0. And even if I just upgraded that hardware, my computer doesn't have a fast enough processor to run Motion 2.0 -- which can create a lot more dynamic and animated graphics.

So I after I get more of my Phase01 development mapped out, then expect to see some Echo Chamber Project podcasts and vlogcasts coming within the next month or so.

UPDATE: Testing out my Vlog Feedburner Feed:

kentbye's picture

Excerpts from Dr. Cline's Paper Coming Soon


Dr. Andrew Cline of gave a presenation about this project at the Missouri Broadcast Educators Association conference this past weekend.

Cline writes on his blog:

What I'm doing is charting how the process of running an open-source documentary film project created a social network that led producer Kent Bye, of The Echo Chamber Project, to critically examine more than just the immediate needs of his film.

The title of his essay is Negotiating the Story Online: Social Networks and Critical Pedagogy in Broadcast Journalism

Cline says that he'll post some excerpts from the essay here within the next couple of weeks. I'm looking forward to reading his observations.

kentbye's picture

Timelines for the Pre-Production, Production and Post-Production Phases

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I aggregated the timelines for the Pre-Production, Production and Post-Production Phases of The Echo Chamber Project for a paper that Dr. Cline's is working on.

Below is an overview of how the film came about and where it has been so far. It also traces the evolution of the collaborative aspects of the post-production.

More details about the pre-production phases can be found in The Origins of The Echo Chamber Project as well in the Baltimore City Paper cover story written by Charles Cohen.

More details about the actual production can be found by reading the interviews that have been transcribed.

There are links to blog entries covering the big post-production highlights in the timeline, and more details can be found by sifting through the blog archives...

kentbye's picture

The Origins of The Echo Chamber Project

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Dr. Cline asked me to give him some more background information as to the events leading up to why I decided to start The Echo Chamber documentary project for a paper he's working on.

I told a lot of this same information to Charles Cohen when he was profiling my wife and I for the cover story on this project that was published in the Baltimore City Paper a year ago. But not all of it made it into the final story, and so I thought I'd share it here as well.

At what point did you say to yourself: "I have to do something."
Going back to April 20th, 2002, I had attended one of the first anti-war rallies in DC before the Bush Administration kicked off their PR campaign to sell the Iraq war 4 months later. This is where I heard Phyllis Bennis from the Institute of Policy Studies speak for the first time.

After this, I saw Scott Ritter's name come up a number of times online and that's why I went to go hear him talk on August 22nd when he came through Baltimore. Ritter accurately predicted that the Bush Administration was going to go to war in Iraq, and that they were going to use WMD to sell it to the American public.

Four days later, I was on vacation when I saw highlights of Cheney launching the PR campaign to sell the war in Iraq. Ritter was so eerily correct in predicting what was going to happen that I started recording C-SPAN when I returned home in September and October of 2002. I had a very strong hunch from Ritter that the Bush Administration was going to sell the war based upon questionable intelligence...

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