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Homeless Chicago Man Who Inspired Public Television Series Goes Viral

"Big Questions is in the news again," South Bend public television station WNIT says on its Facebook page.

That's because Redditors discovered this 9-month-old video this week and then Gawker discovered that Reddit had discovered it and issued a challenge.

First, the video:


Now, the backstory, via WNIT:

Kim Clark teaches media ethics at the College of Communication at DePaul University. As part of an assignment a few years ago, Clark wanted to combine ethics and media. He sent the students out to get to know an individual they had never met and most likely would never speak to outside of the project. The beginning rule was "you need to ask the individual if you could have permission to tell the story of their life." Subjects were to be approached with dignity and respect. The video was the result of the observation of one team of students in downtown Chicago.

The assignment was so successful that an entire class was created around the concept of using ethics and documentaries to tell stories. The idea for a television program came from the the insight of stories from honestly asking and listening to individuals. "We never stopped making Ronald Davis. We kept looking for the honest truth in people everywhere we went," Clark tells.

Clark came to WNIT Public Television with the idea of a 13-part series looking at the way people try to solve problems in unusual ways. Sometimes the solution is traditional and sometimes counter-cultural, sometimes illegal. It's the insightful way people manager their lives against insurmountable odds.

Big Questions airs on Monday nights at 10 on WNIT, but in a better world it would air every evening at 5:30 instead of the network news - or at least on Sunday mornings in Meet the Press's time slot. It takes real people to make the news real.


See also:
* Reddit thread
* Kim Clark
* Big Questions
* More about Big Questions
* Nearly 2,000 YouTube comments


Comments welcome.


Posted on April 25, 2013

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