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Max Lugavere Shares His Thoughts on Video Journalism

Question: How do you keep people from using Current as a platform for their causes?

Max Lugavere: Well, I know that it's a struggle that we've faced before. For example, we have a segment on Current where one of our journalists infiltrated the sort of skinhead sect in Russia. There's a large population, I guess, of neo-Nazis in Russia and, you know, that is a story that needs to be told and nobody else has really told it the way that we did but you, you know, you always want to be careful to not perpetuate their hate. You don't want give them a voice, you want to tell people what's going on without sort of giving them a soap box to stand on, so to speak.  So that is definitely a tricky situation, but that has always been a tricky situation for any journalist. I think that with the sort of ability for... with the range of stories that are now being told and sort of with the information or overflow that is at all our fingertips, I just think that people are going to... their sensors are going to be more into it to detect what is bullshit, what is not; what is sort of, you know, worth reading up on, or what is not, and I just think that the more information the better.

The more information we have available to us, the more fine-tuned our filtering-our internal filtering devices-will get. It's not a one-way broadcasting network, it's sort of a communication with the powers to be in media in general, and with that will become a greater sort of medium, where the truth lies.

Question: What's the craziest story you've covered for Current?

Max Lugavere: When we first launched, one of the first stories that I covered with Jason was certainly crazy for me because I graduated from college like 6 months ago-prior to that point. I was going to purchase a fake social security card with Jason in Macarthur Park, and obviously Jason speaks Spanish so he was, you know, able to go in and really speak the language and get the job done, whereas I stuck out like a sore thumb. I wearing board shorts at the time and sunglasses... in the context of the segment I looked ridiculous, but at the same time it was pretty interesting for the two of us to really get to see that world. And so Jason, you know, bought himself a fake social security card which a lot of undocumented workers in Los Angeles need order to-at least on paper-be able to say they can legally work for whatever it is, a carwash, you know. And so we wanted to sort of see how that was done seeing how everyone was talking about it and so we did that, and Anderson Cooper actually had us on the show to talk about what that experience was like. So that was definitely crazy, I mean, I was sort of... Jason was actually in the room, I was walking around Macarthur getting accosted by sex workers and drug dealers while he was getting the ID, but it was crazy nonetheless. I think, you know, we've covered the immigration situation in Miami; we've covered the homeless situation in L.A., all interesting topics. I can't say that we've really risked our lives to tell a story, it's not something that we want to do-we love telling stories. We're both passionate storytellers.  But there are journalists on Current TV that are way more courageous in that sense.

Question: Where do you see Current TV in 5 years?

Max Lugavere: I think we have yet to see mobile technology really coming to fruition in the way that I think it eventually will. I think Current will be heavily involved in that when it does. I also think that Current has a long way to go in terms of mass penetration which, you know, for better or worse, all of our marketing up until this point has been very grassroots. It's just people that stumble upon the channel or see something about us on the web, tune in and then become hooked and then they told their friends. It's been very vital in that sense. But that said, it doesn't have the mainstream following that "The Hills" has and I think that that is sort of a crime, you know, and then, I think that in 5 years what I'd like to see is just Current being a massive hit, with people all over the world tuning into Current TV to see a perspective that you are not going to see anywhere else. We really want to enrich the dialogue between young people and the concept of news, it's just... it's all about information dissemination and I think that the more eyes, the more power you have, and Current definitely, we want to have the power, we want the influence, we want to use it for good.

Recorded on: April 14, 2009


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