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New Media Project - SD 2018

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The New Media Project:

This is an attempt to crowdfund the truth.

It seems a little crazy that this is something we’d need to do but political debate in this country has devolved to the point where it’s very difficult to make sense of anything anymore. Misinformation, obfuscation, and flat-out lies augmented by mudslinging, personal attacks, and marketing gimmicks is the new normal. If we’re going to make good choices as voters, we need good information. The news sources we use to rely on now seem more like pawns in a game than arbiters of fact. We can’t blame the public for apathy or poor decisions when it’s impossible to know what’s really going on.

We live in an age where we carry the sum of all human knowledge in our pocket but can’t possibly process that information in any meaningful way. The market-driven old media is focused on drawing eyeballs through sensationalism and more concerned about being first than getting the facts correct. This churn means they can’t or won’t take the time to examine anything in depth or with a critical eye. This dynamic is not serving us very well. It’s ripping our culture and our democracy apart.

We need a new paradigm.

Enter the New Media Project. Our goal is to harness the power and clarity of honest fact-based information condensed into short videos that will enable people to draw their own conclusions. We’re starting small by picking one issue in one local election this fall in San Diego, CA. We’re going to see if we can (with your help) give voters the data they need to make an informed decision. This will create the prototype for future non-partisan examination of local, national and international issues.

The plan for this pilot project is to produce a series of a half dozen or more short 3min films that explain different aspects of the debate over one issue. Sources will be cited. Misinformation will be challenged and corrected. Personal attacks won't be part of the debate.

Here's a sample of what the videos will look, sound, and feel like ...

The issue (for the prototype): The Chargers football team have left town for LA and their old stadium is in need of $100M+ in repairs. San Diego State football still plays games in the facility but pay about $150,000+/- a year in rent for a stadium that costs the City of San Diego $10,000,000+ a year to keep open. The old stadium is eventually going to get knocked down and the land redeveloped. There are two competing proposals on the ballot this fall to do just that. SoccerCity is a proposal to build a multi-billion dollar mixed-use project on the site anchored by a new smaller soccer/football stadium. SDSU West is a proposal to transfer the land to San Diego State University for their use. The third alternative, doing nothing with the site, presents a host of unpleasant outcomes. Even for a citizen who has no interest in sports or the University, everyone has a stake in the city's finances. What happens with this land will have a multi-billion-dollar impact on city coffers and the local economy for many years to come.

About me: I’ve been a documentary filmmaker for over 25 years. I’ve produced and directed dozens of programs for public television and other outlets. I’ve been lucky enough to work with a slew of very talented people on a number of quality projects and have received 11 Emmy Awards for my work.

The reason I took an interest: This project was born out of an attempt to have a genuine debate about the merits of these two proposals. I found it almost impossible. As a documentarian, I have an interest in this type of subject matter. My very first film for public television back in 1993 was about the redevelopment and revitalization of San Diego’s downtown core. And maybe my best-known work to date revealed how big-box retailers like WalMart manipulate local governments and bend the system to gain a competitive advantage on the public dime.  

Disclaimers: I graduated from SDSU in 1989 and I’ve been a long-time supporter of the University and a 30+ year supporter of Aztec athletics, football, basketball, and soccer. For roughly the last 15 years I have also been involved in youth sports, mostly soccer but also basketball and football as a coach, manager, and non-profit board member. As an alum, I have love for SDSU. I also have love for soccer and think a new MLS team in San Diego would be fantastic for the city. 

In short, I have loyalties on all sides of this argument. I’ve studied this issue in depth, still have more to discover and I’d like to share those facts in an objective way with my fellow citizens so they can make an informed decision. But it takes time and costs money to research and create quality content. The videos currently circulating about this issue are almost all advertisements or biased "advocacy" pieces that do nothing to help the average person gain a clear picture of their choice this November. Partisan paid-for content is the only content we see. This is exactly the dynamic the New Media Project aims to change.


Nick Nordquist
San Diego, CA

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