The Unimportance Of Physics (Or How To Shoot A Bullet Around CNN)

Jolie In Wanted

Over the weekend I went with a friend of mine to see Jolie’s new flick “Wanted”.

It wasn’t Wall-E but it was delicious in it’s own way.

All action, violence, curse words and Angelina’s ass.

It was over the top, made no sense 15 minutes after you walked out of the theater and impossible in a ‘no way in hell” way.

But it didn’t matter.

It was still cool as fuck.

When I stopped writing this blog regularly I spent a lot of time looking for projects. Dipping my toe here and there.

Talking with the smart, amazing, crazy and funny.

And chasing women who wore skirts.

Then I got an email from Ankit of Instablogs that went something like this.

“I have a small company in India, very little money and I want to build an international news organization to rival CNN… And we want it not just something people read on the web but also in their local papers and watch on their phones.”

Ankit wanted to curve bullets.

Now that sounded just impossible enough to be interesting.

So between shooting video of my homies, I went to work with Ankit (and his brilliant team in India) to create the future.


What we did was took regular folks from around the world and empowered them.

We let them tell the stories going on in their neighborhood, city or country to us. We then find video to back them up (if they don’t shoot any) and throw it online in a daily video format for your computer or phone.

In a world where mainstream media are cutting international coverage we are expanding it.

How cool is that?


We have tons of kinks to work out.

It’s a logistical nightmare.

The English in some countries is sometimes hard to understand.

It’s always interesting to see what other people think is important.

And audio quality sucks a lot of the time.

But it doesn’t matter.

It’s still cool as fuck.

jolie poster

Today we held a Press Conference in India.

All the media was there (btw, India has a lot of media). Many of the journalists stood with their mouths open as we explained how we have ‘citizen journalists’ filing video reports from all over the world, everyday.

It’s amazing what individuals can do.

We still have 99 more hoops to jumps through.

But it doesn’t matter.

We’re learning to curve bullets.

Everybody should.

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22 Comments on “The Unimportance Of Physics (Or How To Shoot A Bullet Around CNN)”

  1. Franklin Says:

    Nice to see you are doing something interesting. I wondered what you were up to. I also see you listed at the Blogging While Brown conference. I’ll see you there.

    But you really need to see someone about that Jolie fetish! 🙂

  2. nice.

    catching a curved bullet is pretty cool too.

  3. fred wilson Says:

    this is excellent

    i’d like to get a 30 min best of every day or week to watch on my mac mini on my big screen

  4. chartreuse Says:

    Franklin:I’m only going to that conference to see you. And the Jolie fetish stays.
    Howard: When will you stop appearing on video shows talking about twitter and focus on fixing the stock market? Your country needs you!
    Fred:We’ll work on it!


  5. Jecklin Says:

    I love it. so cool

  6. amrita Says:

    i think film is silly that is why it is called wanted, wanted by beach babe amrita.

  7. Crawford Says:

    Killer idea. Used to use disposable cameras sent out to large numbers in ethnographic research. Always a delight to see what came back, what serendipity wrapped up with a bow of delight. Can only imagine you’ll be doing same with a multiplier effect. Looking forward. Fun.

  8. rafi Says:

    Hm… It kind of sucks. The problem is people who can make good video don’t do it for other people for free.

  9. rafi Says:

    or for cheap… presumably you’re paying these people something.

  10. chartreuse Says:

    I think you are missing the bigger picture Rafi. I would be the first to realize the problems with stuff like quality, etc. But that is the kind of stuff that can be improved. In fact that is the easy part. The hard part, getting the people, working the logistics, inspiring people enough to get involved and care is the hard part. And that hurdle we already crossed.

  11. Anthony Says:

    Physics is so not cool in 2008. Every action having an equal and opposite reaction is fucking pedestrian if you ask me.

    Nice to hear things are going well mate. What’s needed here is free courses on CitJ in an around the world tour in x # of days done by Char and the Insta team. My work here is done. Make it so.

  12. gregory Says:

    where are you in india?????

    i am in bangalore and want to meet up, throw some energy into what you are doing

  13. Out of curiosity, are you starting to think about maybe shipping out text to folks either state-side or Euro who DO have a firm grasp of English and the ability to turn around copy on a reasonably swift basis as a sort of second-line of development? Stringers/CitJ going out, gathering the info, getting some video maybe, then sending it off to folks who can change that into a tighter VO for the piece?

    That sounds like something I’d not only be interested in doing but ENJOY doing, and if it earned me some money on the way, all the better.

  14. VampireFeet Says:

    When I first looked at the video I wasn’t impressed. The sound was not good. The host looked a little shaky but then I started thinking about it and I can see why you’re excited.
    A small company in India creating a viable rival to CNN with the budget of Anderson Cooper’s yearly salary is impressive. Very impressive.

  15. chartreuse – screw the market. you cant beat it.

    get rich cheating 🙂

  16. chartreuse Says:

    thanks Howard for the impossible advice!
    Vampire: glad you get it
    Alexander: We are open to everything at this point
    gregory:i shot u an email

  17. Rafi is right, but there are ways to pay people, other than just money. Current pays people with recognition – being on TV is a big deal and worth a lot to these unknown filmmakers.

    But, even with that said, Current’s best stuff comes from paid contributors.

  18. […] seem to be equally impressed. One person was so attracted to Instablogs that he bought into Instablogs CEO Ankit Maheshwari’s vision to “build an international news organization […]

  19. Great Job done by the whole team. Cheers!

  20. Cool idea. Some thoughts:

    1. You can’t jump ahead in the video if it hasn’t been loaded fully. (Being in India, it does take more than a few minutes to load – and what if I just want to see one of the 5 news stories?)

    2. I would think a digg like process would be better. With a daily editorial. In other words: let people shoot their news videos guerilla style and upload it. Let other people vote for it everyday. And at the end of the day – show the hot-news-of-the-day video on the main page.

    3. You will need breaking news or else not many people will stick with it. So I would focus more on the local angle. Twitter is the first site where news about Mumbai floods come on. Maybe Instablogs TV could be the first site where video of such things could first come on – before the big news channels can move.

    In summary: Focus on local. Focus on guerilla style… the quirkier the better. Focus on web 2.0.

  21. […] Violet Blue thing [NW] :: BoingBoing The Unimportance Of Physics (Or How To Shoot A Bullet Around CNN) [NW] – chartreuse I wish Twitter would partner with Gnip [NW] :: Dave Winer The WHY of Gnip: […]

  22. serfman Says:

    nice. catching a curved bullet is pretty cool too.

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