Center for Digital Storytelling helps people hold up a lens to their own lives
This column originally appeared in the Online Journalism Review on Oct. 8, 2002.
Technology, which has already helped spawn a class of amateur journalists through text-based weblogs and niche news sites, is about to blast into oblivion another largely artificial distinction: the gap between professional and amateur visualists.
In the past few years, the cost of creating personal documentary works has fallen so dramatically that the tools are no longer available only to a specialized class. People from all walks of life are now picking up the tools and telling their own stories, with the help of training facilities like the Center for Digital Storytelling.
On a recent Thursday morning, Kiok Gruttend, an emergency room nurse at Kaiser Permanente, sat nervously at the pockmarked table as a dozen strangers sat and waited. “Pardon,” she said, “my English not too good.” Her fingers trembled slightly as she began reading her two-minute script.