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Former CIA Clandestine Operative
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Max Lugavere Explains the Founding Principles of Current TV

Question: How is Current TV different from other networks?

Max Lugavere: Well, I think that the most obvious way in which Current is different from other networks is that the values that are sort of written into our constitution are inherently, you know, born of this web 2.0 time, which we sort of have all come into where we sort of accept an interactive medium as sort of standard where, as like CNN has iReport, and MTV thrived with MTV Flu-which is a website.

Current TV is inherently a dual screen experience where users can participate in a multitude of ways in our programming and, you know, that can range from creating a short form documentary in its entirety to submit to the network or, you know, you can leave web comments and text comments, web cam responses on our website for inclusion into our show or on the air many other ways. We sort of launched with the goal of seeing Al Gore's mission of democratizing the most powerful medium that exists. And that...we haven't gone a day without trying to figure out new and more innovative way to do that.

Question: Why is your user-generated content so important?

Max Lugavere: Our favorite segments to talk about on-air are the viewer-created segments, because part of the reason why we came onboard was because we submitted a film that we produced in college, and so it's always refreshing for us to see the work of other young filmmakers. Not only on that but sometimes you get-most of the time you get-a perspective that you just won't see on traditional news media. It's not always journalism, but the perspectives are just unbelievable, I mean, we feel very honored to sit on the frontline of this, sort of the highest value, user-generated content production pipeline that exists today.

I mean, YouTube obviously is bigger and more ubiquitous, but you have a lot of videos of like people's cats jumping through hula-hoops or the next Chris Crocker. It's all entertaining, but the user-generated content that you are going to see in Current is just, the production values is just impeccable most of the time, and so we love it. We get to see stories like, you know, the underground party scene in Karachi, Pakistan, nose jobs in Iran-apparently it's the nose job capital of the world. You know everything from that to underground drifting circles in Northern California. So it's just, it's really compelling and it's great for us because...we get to keep our finger on the pulse of what's on the mind of people our age, you know, these are in short documentaries that come from focus groups or board rooms and large media conglomerates, you know, they came from people just like Jason and I, so it's great. Those are our favorite pieces, those and then the in-house journalism that Current produces on our vanguard show.

Recorded on: April 14, 2009


Al Gore’s vision was to democratize television.

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