Org Profile: Citizen Star News (Part II - The interview)
CSN: What made you found Citizen Star News?
"Citizen Ed" @Transhumanist: Well I've had a number of ideas for both projects and playstyles in Star Citizen. Some I may still pursue. But I spent some time looking at the Star Citizen community and while there are some really good media producers, particularly video, there wasn't that much in the way of a cohesive community web presence. Some bloggers but no real news sites, at least not the way I'd like to see it done. But I didn't just want to do news site, I wanted something that tied into the community. Creating an in game presence and focusing on the community as much as what CR and his team is doing. "Where the Citizen is the Star. Chronicling your stories."
Having in game reporters actually part of the play experience. Taking a ship out into a space where people have been mysteriously disappearing. That kind of thing seems fascinating.
Helping build and perhaps even shape the community in some small way also seems to be a very worthwhile endeavor. It's really turned out well after finding some common ground with Feylan of Pulse fame and working with him on the UNN project. We are helping build a journalism support organization in game.
CSN: What were your influences in founding your organization?
Ed: Oh well Huffington Post transformed web journalism. That's a big influence for me. Wired, Slate. In more game related sites we have evenews24.com and theMittani.com (yes, I played eve for several years and still follow it). Print journalism, Wired again, the old Omni Magizine, Mondo 2000. Actually met R. U. Sirius, Mondo's main editor. Ken is quite the character.
In game wise playing a reporter: Courageous reporters like Woodward and Bernstein, Anderson Cooper's foreign correspondent work, Rachel Maddow, perhaps even John Stewart & Steven Colbert.
On Media Moguls: Ted Turner in his heyday. I can't think of another really that I could say influenced me. That's interesting. I do recall thinking about that I was deciding to found a media company.
CSN: How do you plan to spend the time and build an organization as the game draws closer to launch?
Ed: Here's the thing, I noticed several other folks had the idea of role playing as an in game journalist and a few brands exist here and there, but many have wandered off over time. By running the website (which is up, not some vague plan) and collaborating with others, I believe that can keep up the momentum and be a successful active organization through all this time, through the alpha, beta and launch.
Also -- I consider the corp already up and running, in-verse. The history of the Star Citizen universe is happening now, realtime. And I don't just mean that figuratively. If you watch the News Update Comm-Links you can see time passing on a one-to-one basis with the real world, here it is 2014 and in-verse it is 2944. I don't wait till 2945 to be a part of Star Citizen. Anything notable that can be translated into an in game event is going into the corp history. So far in our history we've established an office in Cassel Landing of the Goss system, put up a Comm-Net presence, worked out syndication agreements with CIG's "official" news agencies, working with the UNN.
The number of members dedicated to the org is small, yet. We've got really excellent response from people interested in working with us, but few joiner types. I expect a lot more interest once multi-org drops. We don't need to be a huge group, though. I am pretty happy with the progress so far.
CSN: What are your thoughts on how the organization is going to work?
People that desire to outright join the Org are of course very welcome. Opportunities for management, leadership and pretty much anything are wide open. At least for now I'll be keeping the Chairman of the Board, CEO and Editor in Chief slots. Ed in Chief is the one I am least attached to. A good candidate could easily talk me out of it. I've been a community builder and web designer for years, even business leader and manager. But as a journalist ... I ... well... let's say that's were the roleplaying comes in.
There are also Managing-Editors in both the game org and the site roles, those would be good stepping stone and leadership types. I have one, and there are several people talking to us right now.
I am very much looking forward to having multi org membership. I think many folks don't want to dedicate their entire SC existence to space journalism, but I can easily imagine people dedicating an alt character or sporadically writing guest pieces. I expect a lot more interest then.
The Citizen Star welcomes "rival" organizations, stringers and independents. Both in game and out, the site is pursuing syndication agreements, while the in-verse corp is described as "a news reporting and media distribution conglomerate". Should give a lot of flexibility to be big tent inclusive of anyone interested in this type of org, even if they are invested in their own "brand".
We also consider ourselves a support orgnization. Any journalist type is also welcome to join as an "Associate" using our Comms and distribution channels, whether or not they produce work for us.
CSN: Would you describe your concept for in game presence, your personal character and the Org?
Tough question at the moment, right now we are pretty much only a call sign in Star Citizen. I've avoided specifying too much, deliberately leaving my in-verse self a shadowy figure, The Transhumanitarian, Citizen Ed(itor-in-Chief).
The origin of the Transhumanitarian call sign was me being interested in pushing the advancement of human development into something more within the Star Citizen universe. Star Citizen to me is about inspiration, the promise of the future. I want that future to be something worth aspiring to. Doesn't have to be a Utopia, and the UEE clearly isn't one. Years ago the term came up in conversations with people pushing the concept of Transhumanism (being a transitional state of becoming something more than human -- or post-human), who are often accused of not being sympathetic to others. We coined the Transhumanitarian term then, pushing human boundaries while still remember to be "humanitarian". I believe there was a fellow that used that as a monicker for a while, but my searches show he hasn't been active on that name for some time so I took it back for Star Citizen. A bit long though, I have to admit getting tired of typing it out. I might register another name at some point.
A concept that has developed over time is that the Transhumanist may be an old man, like the character Weyland in Prometheus (an underrated film -- in spite of plot and character holes that you could drive a Bengal carrier through). At least moderately rich from prior endeavors. He's still hanging on to life through technology but he knows he's only got a little time left. This project allows him access and the ability to influence the universe to further his ultimate goal, survival. I very well may never create an avatar for him and play him. I'll probably run a "successor" through Squadron 42 and into the Persistent Universe. That gives me some freedom to explore and adapt while still establishing an early presence.
CSN: What could CIG do for you to help you be successful? What do you need in the Star Citizen 'verse?
Multi-org is one thing for sure.
A public org chat channel would be nice as well. We used that kind of thing in EVE quite effectively. Even if we did have to create them ourselves. Chat channels can be made by anyone in EVE, just need a unique name.
An API for relating accounts and characters to local logins would help. I would suggest something hierarchical. Parent Accounts and characters. Single Sign on would be interesting.
I am actually interested in in-game journalism supported by the game system. I am hoping we can produce our own comm-links to be seen in the verse, perhaps link back outside as well. There is a lot of potential for increased immersion there.
And the most important thing: To not suck. Mostly joking of course. From everything I've seen, I have a high level of confidence in Chris Roberts and his merry band, and can't wait to explore what they give us.