Mandela, through his own words

This is a project that never got to be fully realized. It began several months ago, but I had left VOA by the time Nelson Mandela passed, so it only half came to fruition.

The idea was to pay tribute to Mandela through his own words, having people read portions of his inaugural address and compiling the readings together into a video. The model was, oddly enough, something like Star Wars Uncut – users would be able to claim a portion of the speech and create a video for it. Then we would bring those videos together into one whole that showcased the wide range of people on whom Mandela had had an impact.

I really loved this idea and thought it was a fitting way to let our audience pay tribute to a man who had touched so many lives.

We had thought about a couple of ways to collect and use material, including using popcornjs to play in newly uploaded videos dynamically. Ultimately we decided to just do this manually to avoid a lot of development work. VOA’s amazing stringer in South Africa, Darren Taylor, did the legwork to gather seeder content from all over South Africa, which I edited together. That’s the video you’re seeing above.

The idea was to then post this video on a page with the transcript. Under each section of the transcript would be the videos submitted so far for that section and a button to submit your own video. After about a week we would edit together a second version of the main video, incorporating in all the newly submitted videos.

Unfortunately, since I was no longer there by the time this was launching, there was no one to shepherd the second piece of this project through. But the video using Darren’s original content from South Africa had already been created (I think it’s an open secret that news organizations prepare material in advance for high profile deaths, right?) so that at least got used as one of the centerpieces of VOA’s coverage.

I’m pretty proud of it – Darren found some really diverse and moving subjects, and I think I did a pretty good job editing it all together (if you’ll allow me to say so myself).

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