We are fast approaching the release date of our multimedia storytelling app. In recognition of this, Steve and I have been doing some field testing with local colleagues, to work out any last minute kinks and get an overall sense of the functionality and reliability of the framework we've prepared. One of our primary angles is the idea that most stories are built on fairly standard, well used formulas, or templates. These templates are fairly standard across the international press, including Al Jazeera, and others. To ensure our formulas were flexible enough to fit a variety of contexts, we travelled to Tunisia to work with a small media center and netcafe based in Kasserine.
Additionally, we wanted to be sure the formulas were clear enough to provide an approachable framework for users with no prior experience in reporting or producing media. We spent four days working intensively with three Tunisians, and met with a number of others to learn more about the state of media and mobile use in southwestern Tunisia.
After producing just a few stories, and without any formal coaching, Rashed, who never produced media before, showed a noticeable improvement in the quality of his content.
Our other colleagues, Mohamed and Naim, have a bit more experience in media. Mohamed started an audio podcast and web radio program in 2007. Naim ran a blog critiquing the regime throughout Ben Ali's days and was detained and beaten severely by the police during the revolution.
All three immediately recognized the potential impact of the app, and we are very much looking forward to what they will produce when the app is released in beta by the end of the year.
Do you have a story to tell? Have access to an android media device? If so, get in touch, we a actively seeking beta testers over the coming months, in the Middle East, the US, and elsewhere.