A Sense of Dedication

At work by the pool

Ken Krushel  knows what television network news is all about.

He was senior vice president of Strategic Planning and Business Development at NBC where he oversaw new media development, including digital broadcast, digital cable television and Internet activity, and designing the company’s “digital strategy” as it related to the migration from analog to digital broadcast.

Almost two years ago, I met him at the Eurasian Media Conference in Almaty, Kazakhstan. We were both speakers.

There we laid out plans for a website that would present a different kind of news – created by independent videojournalists around world. An open platform that could get beyond the time, cost and intellectual limitations of conventional television news.

We built a site called Citizen News.

Then we went out to try and raise money for it.

It was not easy.

We were late. After Youtube and just as newspapers were starting to migrate into video.

We talked to everyone in Silicon Valley. (If you’d only been here six months ago, we would have funded it).

No one did.

But Ken never gave up on the idea of a new kind of video online journalism.

He begged, borrowed, cajoled for content. He worked selflessly for free.

He continues to do so to this day.

It’s more than a labor of love. It’s driven by a deep belief on his part that television journalism can be much much better than it is; that there is enormous potential here that we are just beginning to tap into. That the web and video can provide a new and different platform for a much wider spectrum of voices.

It’s more than a business decision. It comes from someplace deep inside and an intense dedication to making the world a better, more interesting and better informed place.

Citizen News may never make a profit.

But its an awfully good idea, and its in the hands of a very driven and dedicated man.

I urge you to peruse the site, and if there are videos you can upload, to do so.


20 responses to “A Sense of Dedication

  1. I love the Citizen News site. I think its possibilities are endless. Best thing is that this is TV Journalism without any barriers to entry – and with an instant global audience. Very much in the ‘democratisation of TV’ theme which I know you are interested in. (I know because I did one of your boot camps back in 04).

    I think as this kind of platform becomes more established, more popular and richer in content, then the more likely it is to be commercially sustainable. As with all of these things, it only takes one sponsor or funder to get things started with a bit of venture cash and things can start to snowball.

    I wonder are there any other similar sites out there which are doing this?

    best wishes,


  2. “instant global audience” – in round numbers what are we talking?

    10 million?
    10 thousand?

    numbers would be nice – “Dedication” is good, but “woking selflessly” is not my thing:

    “You are a better man than I, Gungha Din!”

  3. Discovery likes to say they are in 90 million homes. That does not mean 90 million homes are all watching discovery. It means that 90 million homes can get Discovery, if they want to see it. With web video, ctzn is in 2.8 billion homes! That is the leading edge of the potential of video online.

  4. Again, the pundits are fearful to think outside the box. How boring…

    As you’ve stated, Michael – the potential is 2.8 billion homes. With a conservative target of just 0.5% of that number – that’s still 1.4 million potential viewers (please check my figures) – a fairly decent number for viewership (and targeted advertising revenue).

    All the typical detractor diatribe is about “show me the money” and how the democratization of video is “lowering the standards of quality”. Get over it. I’ve seen plenty of so called network/pro shooters who’ve done that for years – with all that expensive shoulder mount gear and multi-person production crews in tow.

    Since this shift in content creation and distribution is still working itself out, those who have the cajones and choose to take up the mantle of solovj’ism are the ones that will reap whatever they sow. Those who want to play it safe will probably be left with the feeling of wanting – or are so clueless as to not know the difference. Either way, the solo vj paradigm is taking root quickly and removing the barrier by which shooters can create and distribute content.

    The so called lack of quality of solovj’s has been refuted time and time again – many are shooting for NGO’s, social activism and other entities that want to make a change and aren’t necessarily driven by obscene sums of money – something I don’t see happening on the detractors side of the debate – and these shooters produce content that far surpasses anything the pundits say they have shot -if they are even willing to show what content they’ve produced (I get the feeling the nay-sayers are all talk and little substance on the content side of things). Many times the request has been put out to show us their work to support their position – and the same thing happens – no content from the detractor camp.

    The detractors ask whether we solo vj adherents are making any money yet – bottom line is it’s none of your business. Our success or failure is OUR CHOICE. Does either one somehow give you a sense of something? It’s OUR CHOICE to take the chance – and whether we make money or not is a direct result of OUR CHOICE to hold to the lightweight zen like concept that is the solo video journalist paradigm.

    What part of OUR CHOICE do the nay saying pundits not understand?

    If the detractors can’t find it within themselves to seriously explore the idea of web video journalism/documentary content creation and realizing this is the future – maybe they should go take up a less risky profession – like court reporting.

  5. If I go to youtube/metacafe/current etc etc. I can immediately see which clips are popular and which are not.

    Surely that information is useful to both viewers and producers?

    It certainly works for all the successful social media video portals, might it not work for ctzn TV?

  6. Peter said:

    …I can immediately see which clips are popular and which are not.

    Surely that information is useful to both viewers and producers?

    More than likely that kind of information can, in a sense, dictate real time viewable programming. Viewers dictate what to watch, something that is not possible with traditional mainstream networks bogged down in corporate media constipation.

  7. Cliff, your “choice” is no different than the homeless guy living under a bridge who “chooses” to remain homeless.

    Enjoy your “choice” to have a hobby instead of doing something well enough that people would hire you to do it more often and even pay you a living wage.

  8. $ – still can’t come up with an accurate and professional response – this has become de rigeur for you it seems. Make personal attacks instead of accurately discussing the topic at hand.

    You once again prove for all to see that you grasp at straws of derision to try and prove your position (operative word is TRY). In addition, you failed to accurately support your position – instead opting for the adolescent low road in your response in some sort of apparent temper tantrum at not getting your way.

    Since you didn’t respond with any reference (accurate or otherwise) to the difference between self employment and having a JOB, you have further shown to all who read this blog that you prefer to tow the corporate news media line in fear instead of thinking outside the box with a sense of adventure. How utterly boring.

    The great thing is, I or anyone else who ascribes to the solo vj paradigm doesn’t have to prove anything to any of the detractors about what we do and how we do it. Me personally – I prefer to say that I’m doing just fine thank you very much. Being multi faceted means I’m not pigeon holed in any one profession – meaning – I don’t place all my eggs in one basket as it seems you have done.

    And that just gnaws at you.

    You keep forgetting that web video journalism doesn’t require all the excess baggage that broadcast shooters bring with them – solo vj’s don’t have to. We’re able to shoot edgier and can take more chances because we don’t have the constraints placed on us by the technology or having to answer to some corporate PHB’s for fear of losing our JOB’s – And that too gnaws at your narrow world view of what it means to be a solo vj for the web.

    Want to see how it’s done? I refer to Travis Fox of the Washington Post – he works for the web only and is able to get footage to broadcast on prosumer video gear – and does it well. Imagine that – he doesn’t need all that gear and whatever else to get his work seen. My work is out there for all to see. And I have more work already in the pipeline – yet you pontificate on and on and on with your sycophantic derisive rantings about Michael and the solo video journalist paradigm ruining the profession – blah, blah, blah – without showing any of your work to prove otherwise.

    It’s very simple – put up or shut up.

    The detractors want to be taken seriously – so far thats not happening.

  9. More excuses from Cliff about why he can’t find anyone to employ him as a VJ.

    It is a familiar lament from so many VJs.

    You are the poster child of VJ work Cliff.

    All talk and no job.

    As long as you remain unemployed, you prove why empty talk of VJ work leads to nowhere.

  10. All talk and no job.

    Here we go again…

    And your point being is what? I already stated I don’t have a JOB.

    Let’s see if I can break this down even more simply for you one more time.

    I don’t have a JOB. Did you understand it this time? I’m self-employed – an entrepreneur (specifically a Social Entrepreneur)here’s the definition since you evidently have difficulty understanding that concept. My business is a registered LLC. That stands for Limited Liability Company. Did you understand that part? What part of my having said that I don’t have a JOB numerous times are you still not comprehending?

    Or maybe you consider those who choose to not have s JOB and instead operate a small business, which is the backbone of the U.S. economy, as jobless.

    Your continued avoidance of showing any substance of proof that your way is a better way of doing things only adds to your being discredited in your responses.

    Why is it you can’t show the proof of your position?

    It’s easy to resolve – Put up or shut up.

  11. Cliff,

    Here is a fact that really puts your situation in perspective.

    Even Rosenblum won’t pay you for what you have done.

    You have to resort to giving it to him for free in order to get it posted on his web site.

    After all your mindless cheer-leading here…you still can’t make a dime shooting and editing video.

    Enjoy your hobby!

  12. Dear John Mandeville,
    Forget this ‘book’ thing.
    Even Gutenberg will not pay your for your ‘writings’.
    We all know that only the minions of the Church are allowed to ‘write’ books. And then, only the Bible, as Murdoch… oops, sorry, God, decrees what we can write.
    Where did you ever get these notions of a ‘free press’. And as for those VJs who are working for places like The New York Times or The LA Times or The Newark Star Ledger, forget about them! Its not real. You can’t make a dime shooting and editing (unless of course you shoot and edit a series for cable, or some pieces for Current, or even sell a story or two to What’s Your Trip, or hey I hear the Food Network is paying for content now). No. The right, the priviledge of making TV is reserved solely to the employees of Fox or NBC. The rest of you peasants better forget it. Only we have the power.

  13. $ said:

    Enjoy your hobby!

    Nothing of importance coming from you now – just hissy fits.

    Grow up.

  14. It’s not about power.

    It’s about ability.

    Two different things when it comes to being creative enough to get someone to pay you for your work.

    Anyone can pick up a brush to paint.

    Anyone can pick up a pencil and write.

    Anyone can pick up a camera and shoot and edit video.

    Not just anyone is good enough to get paid to do it.

    Otherwise it’s just a hobby.

    Just ask Cliff!

  15. LOL – you literally have no clue what you’re talking about.

    Put up or shut up.

  16. What?

    Are you saying Rosenblum did pay you for your hard work?

    Didn’t think so.

    No wonder you are so frustrated and bitter.

    Enjoy your hobby Cliff! Maybe someday you might even get a job doing what you claim to do so well.

  17. Dear $
    Cliff does not work for me.
    Why would you think I would pay him?
    You have been posting for some time now, and I have to say, in all candor, that if anyone is frustrated and bitter, it would seem to be you.
    Cliff (who I have never met by the way), by contrast seems rather cheerful.

  18. Correction noted.

    Cliff does not work for you.

    Thanks for clearing that up.

    But I was already pretty sure of that fact.

    Cliff remains unemployed.

  19. What happened to the site. The link goes to a page that says they are on hiatus. I’d like to see some new that isn’t part of the media party line that the networks subscribe to.

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