Week 7 – Helen De Michiel Interview with jesikah m. ross

As I promised, I interviewed jesikah maria ross today.  We began by discussing the origins of “Saving the Sierra,” in 2006, and how she and co-creator radio producer Catherine Stifter pioneered transmedia before there was a name for it, and thus began a completely unique community engagement process using media among the Sierra communities.

We then take a deep dive into community engagement:  from public media to community development and organizing models, and what the implications are over the next decade for you as emerging multimedia producers and strategic communicators.  I specifically focus on your questions and concerns — directly posing your questions as we get into the dialogue.  Her responses come from a rich and varied background in this work,  along with her current new thinking, as she is now a community engagement consultant with Capitol Public Radio in Sacramento.

I think that this conversation with jesikah will give you a whole new way of thinking about your own work at the intersection of journalism and citizen participation in the process of making stories and disseminating them.  jesikah inspires in both a practical and metaphorical way. And her methods can be used across any topic or community.

While I will not “require” that you listen, I strongly encourage you to listen to this interview — it is full of excellent information and insight about where we are heading and what we need to be looking out for.  And then top it off with her text interview in Boom Magazine.  Do comment and let us know what you think.  “Join the conversation…”

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5 comments to Week 7 – Helen De Michiel Interview with jesikah m. ross

  • natalieb@uoregon.edu

    Helen, thank you for doing and posting your video interview and the text interview with Boom. It was really enlightening, and gives me a lot of food for thought about communicating environmental and social justice issues. I wish I had remembered to submit a question, but I think my question was mostly answered anyway.

  • amandae@uoregon.edu

    I really appreciated this interview, and found it particularly interesting that she claims that for at least the next 25 years, in order to have truly participatory and inclusive media projects, we’re going to have to have on-the-ground as well as online organizing. I agree with this, if a multi-media artist intends on having actual effects that change society. What does this mean about the efficacy of solely online projects, however? Are the pointless? What purpose do they serve?

  • Lindsey Newkirk

    Thanks so much for conducting this interview Helen. It was great to hear a candid conversation about how hard projects like this are, there is rarely a magic fairy that comes down from the resource clouds to give life to a project. I appreciated her sharing her in depth thoughts on methods she used to gain trust, it really takes amazing relationship building skills and a shared vision.

    Very inspiring that that she was able to do that project off of one grant but what great success in having so many partners and collaborators.

  • jarrattt@uoregon.edu

    I really appreciated hearing about her background as a community organizer and how that informs her documentary process. I came to documentary as someone interested in producing creative works, so the community organizing aspect is something I need to develop more. I have done short meetings to get to know people, who either will be subjects or will lead me to subjects, and then jumped right into production, but the longer, more time consuming preproduction relationship development isn’t a process I have participated in yet. It definitely seems like a worthy and important endeavor, but one that I will struggle with as I contend with the feeling that it is cutting into production time that could yield a strong story.

  • Catherine Stifter

    Helen and jesikah, Thank you so much for exploring the vision and process of Saving The Sierra. It is truly amazing to remember that we did this SO LONG ago that Twitter wasn’t even a thing! We did it without Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest and before most folks were hip to Facebook. I loved hearing your conversation about one of my favorite works ever. I’m so happy to be working again with jesikah at CapRadio.

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