The Class of July 29, 2007
Yesterday we graduated our third Travel Academy class at Discovery HQ in Silver Spring, Md.
This completes the pilot phase of this project and I am delighted to be able to tell you that we are now moving on full bore. Starting in September we are going to be running these sessions on a regular basis in NY, LA and DC, as well as occasional sessions in other spots around the world.
The response both from those who participated and from the network has been overwhelming. This is a concept that works.
While everyone understands the idea of ‘citizen journalism’ or ‘user generated content’, until now no one has taken the time and effort to find these people, train them and focus them. And after that, to nurture them.
It is as though the day after Gutenberg invented the printing press, publishing houses sat around and said “OK. Bring on the books”.
You have to teach people how to read and write.
But once you do, you get to harness an army.
We expect to train thousands of people at these sessions. Think about that. Thousands of people around the world, armed with video cameras and laptops, all working with The Travel Channel. Think of the volume of material to be covered in the world – restaurants, hotels, resorts, museums, fairs, on and on and on….
Do you think a few film crews can handle that?
But soon Travel Channel will be unlike any other resource in the world. And its website and programming will be filled with entirely new and fresh and focused sources of content.
And this is just the start.
In the fall, we are going to start offering our Advanced Session.
We’re going to take a dozen graduates of the Academy to places like Burma or Thailand or South America and over the course of a week or so, teach them in the field to create long form programming and together produce a documentary hour. It’s Academy Phase 2.
So stand by.
And meanwhile, congratulations to all the grads of Academy Phase 1. You are off to the start of a very very interesting experience.