Bay Area finalists in ‘Democracy is…’ contest

Two Bay Area residents – a third-grade teacher, tech-trainer and aspiring photographer/videographer from Pleasanton, and a video technology developer from San Jose – are among finalists in a State Department-sponsored international competition to build a global discussion on democracy.

The Democracy Video Challenge asks people around the world to complete the phrase “Democracy is…” through short online videos, submitted online. Since its launch two years ago, more than 1,600 people from 111 countries submitted entries and spurred the online engagement of at least 1.5 million people.

The challenge is part of a larger “Democracy is…” project, described as “a global conversation created by a unique public-private partnership that includes democracy and youth organizations, the film and entertainment industry, academia and the U.S. government. It leverages social networks and various creative tools to engage people around the world to share, consider, debate, and learn from diverse perspectives on democracy.”

There are 18 finalists; people around the world can now vote for their favorite videos until midnight GMT (that’s 5 p.m. PDT for us) next Tuesday, June 15. Six winners, one from each geographic region of the world, will be announced during the week of June 21 to receive all-expense-paid trips to Los Angeles, New York and Washington DC in September. Last year’s six winners are from the United Arab Emirates, Zambia, the Philippines, Poland, Nepal, and Brazil.

Here’s the entry by Nicole Dalesio of Pleasanton:

And here’s the entry by Franklin Pham of San Jose:


Orinda students win C-SPAN competition

Tyler Pavey, Lana Olmer and Scott DeMunck, students at Miramonte High School in Orinda, will be interviewed live Tuesday at 11:30 A.M. PST on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal.”

The students have won third prize in C-SPAN’s StudentCam, http://www.studentcam.org/, a video documentary contest that invites middle and high school students to produce a video on a current political issue using C-SPAN programming.

The students’ video will air on C-SPAN on Tuesday at 9:50 a.m. PST when the documentary, “The Climate Change Controversy,” about global warming airs in its entirety, followed by a live phone interview with Lana Olmer at 11:30 a.m. PST during “Washington Journal,” C-SPAN’s live viewer call-in program.

The documentary is available to download or stream from the competition’s Web site, http://www.studentcam.org.

“The creative expression on a range of timely subjects, from immigration to global warming and the care of Iraq war veterans, makes this a standout year for the StudentCam competition,” said Joanne Wheeler, vice president of education relations at C-SPAN in a prepared release. “Our commitment to air the winning videos over four weeks and post them online gives our audience the opportunity to hear from today’s young people about some of the major issues facing their communities and the nation.”

The StudentCam competition awards 45 winners accompanied by $25,000 in cash awards, including a grand prize winner plus two, first prize winners; eight, second prize winners; 14, third prize winners; and 20 honorable mentions in middle and high school categories.

The top 25 videos will air on C-SPAN, one each day, starting on May 14, at 6:50 a.m. ET, followed by a live phone interview with the winning students at 8:30 a.m. ET. Video of each interview is archived online at http://www.studentcam.org.

According to a C-SPAN release, the videos were judged by a panel of C-SPAN representatives and evaluated based on the thoughtful examination of the contest theme, quality of expression, adherence to the 10-minute time limit, the balance of views presented and use of C-SPAN programming. The annual competition is sponsored by C-SPAN Classroom, http://www.c-spanclassroom.org a free membership service dedicated to support educators’ use of C-SPAN in their classes or for research.