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Archive for February, 2010

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

A Personal Update

by Amani Channel

I’ve been a total blogging slacker. Well, it feels like that in a way because it has been almost a week since my previous post.

To say that I’m busy would be an understatement. A friend of mine says I’m “overloaded” which feels about right.

So this is what’s going on in the life of The Amani Channel?

Newsmaker of the Year – Me?
I found out earlier this week that I’ve been nominated for Newsmaker of the Year by the CHOZEN Awards. It’s a recognition “for the people, by the people” and came as a total surprize. I have no idea who nominated me, but I feel honored to be included.

Please take a moment and vote for me if you feel I deserve it.

I’m Going to SXSW!
It looks like I’ll be heading to Austin, TX in March for the SXSW Interactive conference all thanks to a contest sponsored by the Open Video Alliance.

The contest called for a 60-second video explaining what open video means to me. I used by iPhone 3GS, Flip Cam, and mashed the video up with previous videos that I created. I received an e-mail last night that my entry was the winner.

Of course nothing is really free, so I’m curious to learn the catch.

Watch my entry

Visual Eye Media Sponsors the Black College Football Hall of Fame
My company had the opportunity to participate in the inaugural Black College Football Hall of Fame which was held last weekend in Atlanta.

I was approached about six weeks ago about producing the highlight videos for each of the 11 inductees. It was no small task, but we got everything done under deadline, and the videos were the highlight of the event.

I have to thank John Wheatley with JWDesign Company for assisting with the editing, and poppa Charlie Channel for provided the narration for the videos. I also produced and edited the project.

It was a great event, and perhaps this will hopefully lead to other opportunities. We all volunteered our services. Sometimes you have to pay it forward.

Super Bowl MVP Doug Williams talks about the event in the iPhone clip below (more pics and videos are coming).

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

The Danger of a Single Story

Watch This

Monday, February 15th, 2010

Atlanta’s Snow Day #2 – A Recap

by Amani Channel

The great thing about living in Atlanta is that you get a taste of all of the seasons. In the summer, there is the humidity and thunderstorms. In the winter, you’ll get at least one or two snow days.

Last Friday, the Southeast got another dose wintery stuff.

It snowed for a good part of the day leaving a solid two inches of snow on the ground and cars the following day.

It wouldn’t last though. Well, there is a headless snowman that is struggling to keep his composure in my neighborhood.

That being said, I enjoyed watching all of “us” who used social media to share pics and videos. I managed to stay away from the news, and was content just watching the #atlsnow Twitter stream, and keeping up with my Facebook friends.

Here is some of the best content I found:

My news friend and colleague Rod Finch produced this professional piece using his Canon 7D in Birmingham Alabama (no it’s not Atlanta, but Bham is our sister city).

He is truly one of the best in the business, and this video shows why.

Snow fell on Alabama (Canon EOS 7D) from Roderick Finch on Vimeo.

Steve Bruns, has become quite a video fanatic in Atlanta documented the snowfall in his neighborhood.

Grayson Daughters posed a short and sweet video of her dog in the snow.

Dont’ know if Hector Alejandro is a professional photographer, but his pics are stunning.
Dennis Matheson provides a nice gallery of snow pics from around the Gold Dome and beyond.
Liza Cardona shared a patriotic themed photo on TwitPic.
ATLien shares this cute pic of her dog in the white stuff.

Here are some thoughts that I shared early Saturday from the road.

I think there are some serious opportunities for a site, or community that aggregates all of the media during big news events using metadata from Twitter and Facebook. Additionally, I think it would benefit local news to seek out and vet community generated content and include some of the media in a special news segment.

The biggest challenge would be confirming that the content is real and produced by the user who posts it. I have to be honest though, I sometimes get a lot more out of seeing what my online network is experiencing vs. the news “telling” me what is important and newsworthy. Am I the only one?

Either way the snow comes and goes, just like the big story of the day. It’s here today gone tomorrow, and we’re off to the next…

Sunday, February 14th, 2010

A Valentines Day Engagement Story

by Amani Channel

How did you and your loved one meet? Here’s a classic MUR episode from the home soils in East Palto Alto California.

My wife got her hands on some old pics, and shares the story of how we got engaged.

We’re going on 9 years this May. How time flies.

Watch Video

Friday, February 12th, 2010

An Open Letter to Debra Lee (BET)

by Amani Channel

I called myself taking a brief blogging hiatus this week. I have a lot going on, and as much as I love sharing information, I kind of hit the wall.

Today, I received an email that I had to share. As a media producer, I’ve always had a love hate relationship with TV. Believe it or not, my parents took away the”idiot box” from the Channel kids twice growing up. My parents cared not for the images, commercials, and the like, and that was before we had cable!

That being said, I wanted to share an email I received. The letter first generated a bit of online buzz last summer, but it is well worth the read. It’s from a teenager who has a bone to pick with BET’s President and Chief Executive Officer Debra Lee.

Of course it’s the Internet, and I didn’t verify the source, but it will give you, and Lee something to think about.


Dear Debra Lee,

I’m Janita Patrick, a 15-year-old African-American female from Cincinnati . Recently, I watched the 2009 BET Awards and felt the strongest urge to reach out to the program. My family is of the typical middle-class variety; both parents and four brothers. See, I’m a junior in high school (got skipped), so naturally EVERYBODY in my age group watches BET. I’m used to seeing the sagging pants, tattoos, lack of emphasis on reading and respecting women that makes up your videos. People in my class live this out everyday, while teachers tell us that we’re acting just like the people in your shows.

In your shows. That struck me as odd, because I would think that with your show being the primary outlet for black entertainers and musicians, and considering the context of blacks in this country, there’s a social responsibility factor to consider. I would never blame BET alone for the way a great deal of my classmates act and talk and dress. Everybody makes their own choices. However, if anybody is aware the power of television on impressionable minds, it’s the people running the television operations. If you are not aware, then perhaps you shouldn’t be running the operations.

Guess who watches your network the most? Not those who are intelligent enough to discern foolishness from substance, but those who are barely teenagers, impressionable and believing. It’s awfully cruel to plant seeds of ignorance in fertile minds. You know it’s really bad when the co-founder of BET, Sheila Johnson, said that she “really doesn’t watch it” anymore.

I am constantly fighting against the images and messages put forth on your program. What made you think that it’s okay to bring my classmates on stage to dance behind Lil Wayne and Drake to a song talking about boffing “every girl in the world”? Why does reality train wrecks have to thrown in our faces? Are you aware of the achievement gap going in inner-city African-American communities? A report from America ‘s Promise Alliance, a non-profit group started by Colin Powell, recently stated that 47 percent of high school students in the nation’s top 50 cities don’t graduate. (Fifty-four percent of males of color in Ingham County graduated from high school, compared to 74 percent of white males). This isn’t because of BET per se, but I don’t see any episodes on your show doing anything to counteract this disturbing trend. In fact, your show is a part of this cycle of media depicting us at our worst.

My older brother told me something about profit being the number one goal for every business. I’m not sure I understand what that means, but I do know that your shows have to be entertaining enough to generate viewers, which is how you make your money. But surely our culture is rich enough to entertain without anything extra to “boost” ratings; why the over-the-top foolery? I listen to classmates talk about Baldwin Hills like it’s the Manhattan Project. It doesn’t take much effort to produce a throng of degenerative reality shows, nor does it take much to eliminate socially conscious shows off the air. MTV isn’t much better, but since when does two wrongs ever make a right? It’s one thing for white television shows to depict us in a particular way, but for black television shows to do it is baffling.

Why do you hate us?
All of the values that my parents seek to instill in me and my brothers seems to be contradicted by a more powerful force from the media, and your show is at the forefront. Your network is the only network that features rap videos and shows exclusively to children of my color. I know that you have no control over the music that the artists put out, but you do have influence as to how you air these videos. I’m sure if a stand was taken to use the talent in your organization to actually crank out thought-provoking entertaining shows and videos, then artists will follow suit. Being that they need you as much as you need them.

There was one awkward segment in the BET Awards when Jamie Foxx singled out three black doctors-turned-authors, but the introduction was so powerless that many of the viewers had no idea who they were. Had they been introduced as Sam pson Davis, Rameck Hunt and George Jenkins, three brothers who overcame major obstacles to become a success without the use of lyrics that berate women, the sell of substance that destroy communities or through raps about loose gunplay, then maybe my classmates would have come to school talking about more than Beyonce, T-Pain’s BIG ASS CHAIN and Soulja Boy Tell Em’s hopping out the bed.

But they weren’t introduced like that. It seemed like a throwaway obligatory tribute to appease some irritated fans. It missed the mark. Big time. Ask Michelle Obama if she watches BET or encourages Sasha and Malia to do so. Ask President Obama. It’s a reason he is the leader of the free world, and it isn’t because of Buffoonery Exists Today.

You’d be surprised how smart young black children can be with the absence of Blacks Embarrassing Themselves. If your goal is to deter engaged, forward-thinking articulate black minds, then consider your goal fulfilled. It’s hard-pressed to think that your shows are working to promote cultural betterment. However, it’s quite easy to conclude that the destruction of black children through the glorification of immoral behavior and rushed production is by design. Poison is being swallowed by every viewer who adores your network, and the worse thing is, these viewers – my classmates – are not even aware what they’re swallowing.

There is nothing edifying for black women on your show.. I don’t judge people who do throng to your programs though; I mean, if a jet crashes in right in front of me, I’ll watch it too. That’s why I don’t flip by your channel…I don’t even want to be sucked in.

I have aspirations of acquiring a law degree and possibly entering the public sphere, so I can counteract conditions in my community perpetuated by the images on your channel. So I should thank you, because in a weird sense, your shoddy programming is the wind behind my back. And it is my hope that I can accomplish my dreams despite BET’s pictorial messages, because Lord knows it won’t be because of them.


Janita Patrick
“Friendship Is Essential To The Soul”

Friday, February 5th, 2010

#SoCon10 The Video

by Amani Channel

I just finished editing a video project for my first client in 2010. I figure the rest of the year will be down hill now. LOL.

So the backstory goes: I’ve attended Kennesaw State’s social media unconference (SoCon) since the first year in 2007. Each year, I voluntarily produced a video for MyUrbanReport. In 2007 and 2008 I produced a video package. In 2009 I produced a live stream. Why do I volunteer my talents?

One of SoCon’s co-founders Leonard Witt is one of my social media mentors. When I first moved to Atlanta and worked at Black Family Channel. I found Len’s name while researching citizen journalism. That started me down the path of blogging, and soon after that video blogging. The rest is history.

Witt was one of my first web video interviewees back in 2006.

Watch Video

This year I was compensated for producing the SoCon video. I wanted to produce something that was professional and captured the excitement of the event.

I smiled when I got this email from Witt earlier today:

I just got to see your SoCon10 video. My reaction: Amani ….IS …Fantastic ….And Creative. We love it. It is really great. Thanks.

Thank you.

Watch Video

Thursday, February 4th, 2010

28 Days of Diversity (A Little About Me Revisited)

by Amani Channel


“SocialWayne” Sutton

I was pleasantly surprised when I received an e-mail from my social media colleague Wayne Sutton, a few days ago asking for some information about my background for a series he was planning for Black History Month called “28 Days of Diversity.”

Sutton explained his plan to showcase people who are making an impact on the social web. Though he asked me to remain mum about his request, I received a heads up that he would feature me today.

This is a great strategy for several reasons: 1) It’s giving exposure to some of the top people of color in the Webosphere; 2) It allows us to learn about each other, and possibly build relationships; 3) It helps Wayne build his brand as a thought leader, communicator and he’ll increase his reach though links and conversations that are created by this effort.

I met Wayne IRL (Twitter talk for in real life) in 2008 at SoCon08. I was immediately drawn in because his avatar is kind of similar to mine. He also has a passion for video technology, as well as anything else social. I also remember seeing a video that he posted from his car ride to Atlanta.

I of course had to interview him for the SoCon08 video I produced.

Watch Video

Why would he want to feature Amani Channel? If you’re just finding my blog for the first time, I’m a journalist at heart. I’ve worked in broadcast news as a reporter for more than ten years, but I fell in love with social media in 2006. I’ve always been fascinated with video and news ever since I was a kid.

You see, I was raised in a small city called East Palo Alto in the SF bay area that had a gansterous reputation. I was baffled at why the news would only come around when there were gunshots. There must have been good stories to tell right? I could go into the narrative, but produced this video that will show what I mean.

Watch Video

So in the past three years, I’ve worked at two networks that have shut down, news freelance opportunities are slim, and many newsrooms are chopping heads like it’s the French revolution.

It’s a sad state of affairs on one hand, but also a needed smack in the face for news corporations traded quality journalism for the paper chase. The Internet is forcing people to create new business models and that’s opening to doors for new media ventures.

In the meantime, I’ve been able to rebrand myself through the Internets. I’ve produced hundreds of video podcasts, and mobile videos with my iPhone. I now speak, teach, produce professional videos and do some consulting.

Watch Video

I can’t forget to mention that I now work in public broadcasting at PBA as the community manager for LensonAtlanta.

I know that I have a lot of knowledge that can help journalists make the transition into the digital space, but they have to stop chasing fire engines first and slow down to pay attention to what the people really need to know.

Thanks Wayne, and congrats to everyone else who is being featured this month!

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

Video and Social Media 1,2,3s

by Amani Channel #atlblog

Presentation for Atlanta Bloggers Meetup

My first MyUrbanReport Vlog uploaded Nov. 3, 2006.
Watch Video

SlideShare Presentation

What’s a professional video?

Advice from a Professional
Becky Kagen
Liquid Productions

As great as video is, you have to know how to capture the moment!

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