October 28, 2008

Alumni’s election webcast to feature viewer content, drinking contests

Those looking for “fair and balanced” election-night coverage might want to stay away from the Pilsen Interactive Media Project, a live webcast led by two U of C alums who promise to drink a shot for every battleground state Obama wins on November 4.

John Greenberg (A.B. 07) and Sandy Witkow (A.B. 07), who have hosted post-debate discussions on their website (, plan to broadcast election results as they come in next month—but without the typical “top-down news coverage,” Greenberg said.

For Greenberg and Witkow, politics is a passion, and the two regularly meet up to discuss the latest developments in the election and the world in general.

“Politics is all we talk about. But politics is not just our lives. Life is politics. I can think of very few things in life that aren’t political,” Witkow said.

That’s why the pair decided to start the Pilsen Project, doing what they would normally do in their free time, but in front of an audience.

According to Greenberg and Witkow, their program will offer something unique that the big networks like CNN can’t provide—the viewer’s voice. Anyone who has a Skype account and a webcam can be appear on the show; all they have to do is send an instant message or an e-mail.

“We’re democratizing news,” Greenberg said “What we want is a lot of people exchanging ideas. We want people to instantly be able to tell us, ‘You’re wrong and here’s why.’”

While they make no claims to neutrality—their tagline is “Honesty, not necessarily objectivity”—they promise not to censor anyone and want as many people as possible to get involved.

“If you’re serious about this, you can make a serious contribution,” Greenberg said. “We want to hear what you have to say.”

Greenberg and Witkow said that if they get enough people to watch their show on election night, they will continue the project and will host interactive political coverage online on a regular basis.

“What we’re trying to do is establish a community,” Greenberg said.