On Saturday I attended the Bay Area Video Coalition (BAVC) Producer's Institute Public Conference.  The conference addressed how the field of documentary has exploded in recent years, taking the nonfiction feature film into new and uncharted territories. Suddenly the art of storytelling and the experience of listening is something interactive. By using tools such as games, virtual worlds, the web, fiction hybrids, video blogs, immersive journalism, interactive mapping, and data visualization (to name a few) creators are able to communicate richer and more meaningful stories.

I wrote down the question "How do I believe your truth?" while Mark Belinsky of Digital Democracy was speaking. His answer to the question was that I had to experience your truth to believe it. The closest we have to experiencing another's truth is through storytelling. Traditions of oration, writing, and filmmaking all attempt to convey another's reality, another's story. In order to be sure that this story is authentic, one tries to create circumstances in which the subject is able to voice their own story. In community work this becomes crucial because outsiders always see things differently and thus their their telling will differ from the insider.

What does this have to do with new technology and media? Working with youth, working with community, I think often of what stories have to do with power, people, and change. In a world where the powerful impact those with less privilege, often in a negative way, we must find ways that the stories of each of these populations can communicate to and have an impact on each other. New media provides a potential place for people to tell stories, interact in others' tales, and make the connections between the ways our experiences impact each others'.

I have not even begun to touch on all of the amazing innovations and ideas that were discussed the the BAVC Conference. If you are interested to find out more check their website at: http://www.bavc.org/