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April 15, 2011

USDemocrazy and Talking Heads Launch Video Collaboration

Dinah Winnick
Communications Manager
University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC)

UMBC blogs USDemocrazy and Talking Heads have launched a new collaborative video project—for students, by students—to share faculty perspectives on current events. Sondheim Scholars Dinah Douglas ’11, political science, and Marc Zerfas ’11, financial economics and statistics, select topics and interview faculty and UMBC’s Office of Institutional Advancement and Imaging Research Center provide technical support. The result is accessible analysis of key topics in the news that seeks to motivate news engagement and stimulate discussion among young viewers.

In the inaugural film, Zeynep Tufekci, assistant professor of sociology, explores the role of social media in the revolutionary movements that have swept through the Middle East and North Africa. She previously addressed this question in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes and on public radio and television, but in this video she speaks directly to a student audience. Tufekci explores how people in Egypt and Tunisia have used social media as tools for communication, mobilization and organization. She also addresses social media literacy and how students can move beyond TV to more effectively consume news today.

The next interview, with Jodi Kelber-Kaye, lecturer in gender and women’s studies, will focus on the federal Defense of Marriage Act and same-sex marriage legislation in Maryland.

USDemocrazy was created in 2008 through the leadership of Kevin “KAL” Kallaugher—UMBC artist-in-residence and editorial cartoonist for The Economist—and it’s come a long way in that short time, receiving hundreds of thousands of views from readers in 130 countries. As the blog continues to grow, its student journalists experiment with new types of original content and news formats for young online media consumers, such as live-Tweeting the State of the Union and the Colbert-Stewart Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear.

The tone of their blog posts and videos “sounds like people who are fresh and new to the news,” says Kallaugher, “and I think people who are fresh and new to the news themselves respond to that.”


To suggest an interview topic or faculty member for a future video, email Dinah Winnick. To learn more about USDemocrazy and using their materials as teaching tools, from middle school to university, email Kevin Kallaugher.

Posted by dwinnick at April 15, 2011 2:58 PM