The Stream draws for its stories from the flow of social media in the Middle East, a flow that's grown positively torrential over the last six months. independent participants on Twitter and Facebook have frequently outpaced even the most competent and committed reporters. And the best of them have in turn contributed to the stream.
Hosts Derrick Ashong and Ahmed Shihab-Eldin turned their studios, a thunderdome of screens, into a hellbroth of feeds and videos for the 30-minute show's online beta premiere. Ashong described it as a "social media community with its own daily TV program." The broadcast debut is in two weeks.
The beta premiere looked at Mexicans using social media to counter drug violence, a Yemeni blogger's return home and Indian anti-corruption efforts.
"I thought it was great," said the Berkman Center's Jillian York, one of the guests on the premiere. "It was a bit unexpected: I thought I'd be talking about the social media aspects of the stories they sent me, but instead I was asked about the actual bits."
Two things struck me. First, it was professional. The people directing and curating the conversation were competent and agile. Second, the social media was a series of veins to be mined and lines along which communication ran, not ornamentation or gimmick.
Unsurprisingly, the show has a Twitter feed and a Facebook page, both of which are points of pretty vital conversation. The Stream uses Storify to curate information relating to a story. I admit I've yet to get my head around the utility of this tool as a story-telling medium, though I seem to be odd man out on this.
Other sources: Lost Remote