If there is one thing that I think is absolutely crucial if FIRE is to get its message out, it is the production of high-quality online video. Not only is video increasingly required for any organization, but it is also especially important for an organization like FIRE, where so many of our cases verge on the unbelievable. People genuinely have to see for themselves that, for example, a student really did get punished for publicly reading a book or a college actually limited its free speech activities to one tiny stage on campus.
Therefore, I’m proud to report that in 2009 we produced more high-quality video than ever before. My goal is to produce even more video content in 2010, so I was thrilled when FIRE received a $25,000 matching grant from generous FIRE donors Raymie Stata and Kimberly Sweidy to launch a 2010 Video Fellowship. With FIRE only $9000 away from reaching our goal (please donate today!) I can think of no better way to lead up to the launch of this new video initiative than to count down our top video successes from 2009.
Over the next several posts, I will rank our top three videos from 2009. I will not be relying on a simple measure of how many viewers each video received (which you can find out from YouTube, anyway), but a somewhat more complex (and utterly subjective) analysis of the individual videos. As we move through the countdown, consider taking a few minutes to watch these videos and to see for yourself if you agree with my rankings.
My pick for the number three FIRE video of 2009 is our interview with Pulitzer Prize-winning humor columnist and author Dave Barry:
I like this video for a variety of reasons: we were all thrilled that Dave Barry agreed to do the interview in the first place; is beautifully shot and edited in HD by talented videographer Ilya Osovets; and it manages to capture both the silliness and seriousness of the problem of out-of-control collegiate censorship.
Stay tuned for my number two pick. Hint: it received more YouTube views than any video in FIRE history. (Okay, I guess that sort of gives it away, but stay tuned anyway!)