Another day making the sausage


Actually WHAT REALLY HAPPENED is my man Tom Elko headed down to a noontime presser at Coleman HQ in St. Paul.
FIGHT THE POWER I told him, later corrected to ACCESS THE POWER. This is how it turned out (predictably):

Yeah, we don't have much time for it either. I'm sure we're quite the joke down at the Coleman HQ. Heck, we're quite the joke down at The UpTake HQ. (Come to our fundraiser, for $100 we'll have you thrown out of a political event of your choosing!) Still, this was the third time we'd been kicked out and I wanted to do something. A bit too dramatic? A stunt? Maybe, but it felt right. I had a live "press conference" of my own, but I was muzzled.


I put up various messages like "The UpTake Muzzled - This could have been live Coleman coverage" while playing other clips of us getting kicked out, along with interview footage with Prof. Jane Kirtley saying that sort of behavior has not held up in the courts. I started editing more press freedom-related clips as I silently protested, and tossed them into rotation. It was sort of improv political theater protest - yeah, something as pretentious as that I'm afraid.

People noticed, though, which was the point. MNspeak, Greg Swan, Minnesota Independent, and Digital Journal – and a bunch of other cool people on the twitters and stuff – you guys rock and I kiss your butts hard.


“We’re part of this struggle to legitimize the future of journalism” + “What happens to one journalist happens to all journalists.”

November 12, 2008 at 01:07 AM in Art/Design, Current Affairs, The Uptake, VIDEO | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tune in to The Chuck Show for (?) !


That's right, friends – my friends – I will be streaming video live on election night
from CNN Grill at Time Warner Center in New York. They tell me "Internet reporter Abbi Tatton will do live hits (and possible blogger interviews) on CNN" and a very heavy programming presence for Live. Live hits, do they mean she'll do drugs on-air?

If I can hear Abbi Tatton's English accent while I drink excessively on CNN's dime, America wins. A brighter tomorrow is just around the corner, especially since I'll have my kickass Obama doll and a surprise McCain creature doll.

Picture_66 My longtime friend and videoblog superhero / citizen journalist Steve Garfield will also be there, doing what he does best: Being Steve, on video, with the people. We have long threatened "The Chuck and Steve Show" (or was it The Steve and Chuck Show?) and oh yes, it will happen. Of course my massive ego filled up the entire logo I made, but I must keep up the cult of personality - you do understand?

Anyway, that's probably the very least interesting thing you can expect from The UpTake's live nationwide coverage. We've got vote chaser's in several hotspots and Noah Kunin is down in Chicago with Citizen Kate, Global Pundit Steve, and about 2 million hopefully-not-rioting revellers. Come fuckin' hang out with us!

(Disclaimer: Logo is a demonstration of the Logobama tool and not meant as an endorsement or any other connection by The UpTake. It's just me being silly, honest. Though I did already vote for "That One - shh.)

November 4, 2008 at 01:53 AM in Current Affairs, Personal Crap, The Uptake, Videoblogging | Permalink | Comments (1)

Chuck on Minnov8

This morning I was a guest on the excellent Minnov8 podcast. I have to admit, my coherence is a couple notches below Sarah Palin levels at 9am Saturday morning, especially when being interviewed by the smartest guys in the room: Steve Borsch, Tim Elliott, Phil Wilson, and Garrick Van Buren. Nevertheless, we had a good discussion especially if you're interested in all this live video / citizen journalism-type stuff. Here's the MP3:

October 25, 2008 at 12:01 PM in Podcasting, The Uptake, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)



The UpTake's "Gook" video has garnered a lot of good response. Thanks to everyone who has emailed, commented, and Twittered. There's a ton of (often crazy) near-conversation on the Veracifier version, and it's been posted on AlterNetHuffington PostBrave New Films, and several other blogs, including most prominently Minnesota Public Radio's NewsCut with Bob Collins.

Bob started out talking about the thorny issue of racism, especially accusations of racism in an election year, which I agree merits healthy skepticism. But then he set his sights on the way I covered the story. We've gone round and round, and near as I can tell, Bob is unhappy with a video only about Irwin Tang's book, though the basic facts of the story are sourced.

For example, in the video Tang talked about McCain wanting to kill the Iranians with cigarettes, and sang "Bomb bomb Iran" in response to a question about Iran. Tang argues that this sort of dehumanizing is a preparation for war upon those people. Considering McCain has warned of Iran 'Armageddon', and promised "I'm sorry to tell you, there's going to be other wars. We will never surrender but there will be other wars," I don't think that assertion it unreasonable. Perhaps more links or quotes by McCain in the video would have underscored the validity of Tang's assertion.

More information, more research, and a deeper story are certainly there for the making. I don't claim this video is the be-all end-all, or the most comprehensive video on the subject of McCain's alleged racism. But it is a story, and a good one I think, presenting Tang's case, a history of the word "gook" and it's connection to U.S. wars and invasions, and Tang's own experience with the word "gook" as a Chinese-American.

Bob Collins seems to want me to go find someone trying to prove John McCain is not a racist, or wants a documented conversation between Tang and McCain.

This is not that story. That story would be good, too - not better, necessarily, but different and informative. I welcome Bob Collins, or anyone else, to make that story. The more the merrier. I stand by my work, and I'm damn proud of it.

Collins says he likes non-political stories about people. I like making stories about people, too – in fact that's what I love, and why I'm a documentarian. But, I will not shy away from people with controversial stories. I find Irwin Tang's story, and the case he makes, compelling. I hope people know more about the term "gook" and John McCain's use of that word after watching it – I sure do.

July 23, 2008 at 10:54 PM in Local, Media, The Uptake | Permalink | Comments (5)

I'm on the Foxxy Teevee

FOX 9 News interviewed me about The UpTake's involvement in "I Approve This Message." What a fookin' Dork.

Video people - that's all of you - help out this project by making a short video of what you'd want to ask the RNC or DNC. End it with, "I Approve This Message." C'mon it's fun!

June 26, 2008 at 01:10 AM in Local, The Uptake, VIDEO | Permalink | Comments (3)

UpTake Chuck on NPR blog


Chuck Olsen (hey, that's fucking me!!) talks about The UpTake and citizen journalism on National Public Radio's "Sunday Soapbox". Thanks so much to producer Davar Ardalan and my homie Andy Carvin.

April 27, 2008 at 05:55 PM in The Uptake | Permalink | Comments (3)

Best of the Twin Cities: The UpTake


Seriously, this is a dream come true. I've always loved the City Pages Artists of the Year and Best of the Twin Cities issues. A few years back I got to writeup my Artist of the Year (Jehane Noujaim). And now, The UpTake is named  Best Citizen-based Media Outlet. I know we didn't exactly face much stiff competition (or any?) but it's cool they came up for a way to include us. And it really, truly is an "us" thing, as Mike McIntee said in the UpTake email: "Everyone who has contributed video, text, time, comments or just moral support helped us win this. So this is an award, not for an organization as much as it is for a community and a movement."

Mad, Angry Props to my favorite local blog (heck, one of my favorite blogs period), Mediation.

Mostly unrelated: Minnesota Stories, which tragically never earned a Best of TC mention, is now back online. Thanks to everyone who let me know. I guess MNspeak isn't the only site that doesn't pay it's hosting on time.

April 23, 2008 at 02:22 PM in Local, The Uptake | Permalink | Comments (1)

The UpTake in Texas

While Lorika and I have been sunning and eco-touring Puerto Rico (did you see our big news?), The UpTake's Noah Kunin has been on the ground in Texas. We've got a liveblog tonight and a bunch of video gauging opinions leading up to today's primary/caucus, but this one should make some waves:

March 4, 2008 at 05:42 PM in The Uptake | Permalink | Comments (0)

Journalism Braindump, and Other Oddities


Tonight, there was a gathering of great journalistic minds at an event called New Media, New Standards? Ethics in Online Journalism. There were old white guys, young white guys, in-between white guys, young women holding microphones, super old crazy white guys, and my friend Erica from Metroblogging.

Okay, that's not really fair. White guys often dominate discussion at these sorts of events. Indeed, The UpTake is full of white guys and we're trying to change that. The real issue is perhaps this: If you let the chattering classes in the door, the bastards will chat about you!

That's the vibe I get from the moderator of this event, Minnesota Public Radio's Bob Collins. And he's right, in a way - bloggers of all stripes will get catty in the backchannel when they sure could speak up at the event. But honestly, a lot of the air was sucked out of the room in the first 30 minutes, and the format heavily favored the two gentlemen on stage. A representative from the Society of Professional Journalists admitted (on camera) that this was the first time they'd ever attempted an event like this. So, hats off to them for trying. There was some good discussion. Get these growing pains out of the way now, and get some thick skin for those stinging blogger barbs.

The consensus is that this event should've been more of a roundtable. We honestly don't need Dan Gillmor to have these conversations. I tell you who we do need: Jason DeRusha and Mary Lahammer. Did you know? I helped TPT's Mary Lahammer start her blog way back in 2003. Almanac and Lahammer are pillars of local journalism and exemplify what a fair, ethical news operation should be. Meanwhile DeRusha has quickly become our generation's Dave Moore. He effortlessly blends his traditional news background with a personable delivery. He's in touch with what's going on and what people are saying because he uses every new media tool imaginable. DeRusha is fresh, authentic and accessible like few on-air talents.

MPR's Bob Collins is absolutely the right guy to moderate some of these discussions. Bob rightly laments the lack of passion in professional journalism. He's passionate and puts his personality into his news coverage, both on his blog and chatting with Mary Lucia on 89.3 The Current. I think Bob was unfairly maligned in the "thanks, no. bob" incident. Perhaps we need to make a "Is Bob Collins a prick?" wiki. JUST KIDDING! The guy beat me in arm wrestling, I'm nursing a sore arm/ego over here.

ANYWAY, BACK TO ME. The Rake (RIP) has an informal, i.e. inaccurate, survey of where people get their news locally. For some reason, this here blog is on the list, and in fact ranks higher than WCCO. Clearly, these people are retarded. I just bought some journalism books, so maybe there will be awesome news-making here someday. We actually do kinda make news over at The UpTake, so please go there instead and for fuck's sake turn on your television on watch WCCO once in awhile. They're getting paid!

RANDOM NAME-DROPPING: I talked to Steve Perry about his new gig running the Minnesota Monitor. What was the word he used... oh yes, clusterfuck. But I get the feeling he relishes the challenge of sheparding MinMon's operation into it's next evolution. There were many other familiar favorite faces: Melody Gilbert, Nikki Tundel, Bob Moffit, Garrick Van Buren, the Metroblogging kids. Finally, due to a St. Paul parking ramp closing at 8pm and related calamities, Noah Kunin and I got a ride home from David Brauer. I can't say enough nice things about this guy. He's definitely one reason I'll stay hooked into MinnPost, along with some interesting arts coverage over there lately.

ONE LAST PLUG: Julio Ojeda-Zapata, a Puerto Rico-native and all-around Journalist 2.0, wrote a great article about The UpTake's use of new technology. Technology A to Z: With easy, affordable tools, anyone can be a video journalist. I'm especially grateful Julio appreciates not just the tools, but the tone. I'd say the issue I most struggle with in creating citizen journalism videos is the tone.

Olsen's brand of reporting doesn't hew to traditional journalistic standards (network correspondents would never speed up a national politician's speech, for instance). You'll see him pretend to disrobe in one video, swear in another segment, and flit aside a Red Bull can strewn alongside a seemingly unconscious fellow UpTake member. Don't hold your breath waiting for Diane Sawyer to do anything like that.

February 26, 2008 at 03:20 AM in Media, The Uptake | Permalink | Comments (26)

God in Our Governments: RAW & UNCUT

The UpTake's "We Need God in Our Governments" video of fundamentalists in Lynchburg, Tennessee has generated a firestorm of interest and heated discussion. Here's almost all of the raw footage, where I ask them about the fabled separation of Church & State, and the fact that our country was founded upon religious freedom.

As I've stated elsewhere: These are good people - some of the nicest folks I've ever met in my life.

Their views are often misguided or worse, and they seem almost impervious to information outside their close-knit religious community, which is frightening. However, piling hatred on them, or dismissing them as ignorant hicks, does no good.

These folks believe they're doing what's right for them in the context of their moral framework. Of course that's miles away from the progressive moral framework. Perhaps someone should give the young girl a laptop with an EVDO card so she might have access to other ideas outside the bubble of Lynchburg, TN.

This is the smartest comment I've seen about the people in this video.

February 20, 2008 at 09:25 PM in The Uptake, Thought Candy, VIDEO | Permalink | Comments (5)