Brand Newz

I can't believe I forgot to post about this earlier. Just caught up in the rush of my last semester I guess....

Anyway, earlier this semester we had a special visitor come to our community journalism class. He's a professor at North Carolina Central University. He teaches a hip-hop class. Ladies and gentleman, Professor Play.

That's right, Christopher Martin (right), "professionally known as" Play from the hip-hop and comedy duo Kid 'n Play, is a professor in Durham. You may be wondering what in the world that has to do with my community journalism class. I'm getting there.

One of our goals this semester was to put together a community newspaper run by high school kids in Durham. We've had some problems getting this off the ground and are looking for any support we can get. Then our professor stumbled upon Play. Since he left the rap business, he's taken on a hobby: broadcast news. But this isn't just any news, it's Brand Newz.

Brand Newz is a website devoted to having amateur reporters from all over the country send in videos reporting the news and answering one simple question: "What's good with you?"

In class, Play said he was tired of 24-hour news doing unfair reporting and telling viewers what to think. Then BET took their news show off the air. With Brand Newz, Play hopes to fill that void of good news coming directly from the people, not talking heads telling you how you should feel.

Play did all the work himself at first, claiming that he was "putting stuff together the McGyver way." But the website has come a long way. He now has a small staff working with him and even plans on putting together a 30 minute version of Brand Newz on the MyRDC channel. He already has two-minute shorts that run on the channel.

One of my favorite videos is sent in by "Young Izzy." He films himself trying to get a job at a job fair at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park. It's the perfect example of the kind of story that Brand Newz is all about. Check it out.

And if you're not sure who Kid 'n Play is, click here.

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