This summer, enter the video journalism contest

300-Video-ContestHistoric City News managing editor, Michael Gold, is the state editor for in Florida; the national citizen journalism project of the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity.  So, when Watchdog Wire has a contest, you can count on Historic City News to include all of our readers as well.

Our government representatives take time off from their official duties in the summer to spend time in their district and to reconnect with their constituents.  We’ll be seeing politicians everywhere this summer because this is an election year — hands will be shaken and babies will be kissed.

“Historic City News is built from an army of ordinary citizens, accomplishing extra-ordinary reporting of the news that’s local to St Augustine and St John County, so we encourage readers to become videographers this summer when you spot our elected public officials out and about — whether at the July 4th fireworks display, parades, summer festivals, rallies, or charity events,” Gold said to a group of past contributing writers and photographers Friday afternoon.  “This is a great time to pull out your smartphone or pocket camera and get some original video footage for Watchdog Wire’s Summer Recess Video Contest.”

Entering your camera-phone video, or other audio-video recording is easy.  Ask our elected officials a question about a hotly debated issue in our community.  Ask them about the latest legislative session.  Or just ask them what the Founding Fathers mean to this country.  Don’t forget our city and town hall meetings either – they are perfect for this contest.

Whatever the topic, we want to capture our representatives on camera this summer and let them know we are paying attention.

To help you out, we have a tip sheet that will help you tell your story with video.

When you are ready to submit your video interview, follow this link:

The best video will win the GRAND PRIZE of a trip to Washington, DC.  Several other prizes will be given away to contestants this summer on a rolling basis.  The first giveaway is an Apple TV and will be awarded in mid-July.

So start practicing your camera skills and let’s capture our representatives in ACTION this summer.

Video subject matter is open-ended, but here are some ideas and angles to consider:

  • The Fourth of July is a popular time for elected officials to hold patriotic events or make appearances at other public events like parades, fairs, or barbecues.  Bring your smartphone or camera along for a possible filming opportunity.


  • Interview attendees on video.  Are there any interesting people or groups attending the event?


  • Prepare tough questions ahead of time for your representatives and ask them on video.


  • Is there anything interesting happening outside of the event?


  • Are there protesters or controversial signs?


  • Is there a Q and A session or a time for audience interaction?  If so, film the questions and how the representatives respond.

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Contest Rules for Engagement:

  • Participants will NOT be judged on their video editing skills or filming expertise. Videos will be judged based on originality and substance.


  • Participants are responsible for finding out where and when their representatives are holding events. Do an online search or call up your official’s office. The Watchdog Wire team will offer assistance as needed.


  • Participants can submit more than one video throughout the contest.


  • The suggested time limit for video submissions is 2-3 minutes. Editing assistance for time length is available as needed.


  • The contest will end August 31, 2014.

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