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Out of the Shadows, Into the Streets!Transmedia Organizing and the Immigrant Rights Movement$
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Sasha Costanza-Chock

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780262028202

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262028202.001.0001

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Define American, The Dream is Now, and FWD.us:

Define American, The Dream is Now, and FWD.us:

Professionalization and Accountability in Transmedia Organizing

(p.155) 7 Define American, The Dream is Now, and FWD.us
Out of the Shadows, Into the Streets!

Sasha Costanza-Chock

The MIT Press

This chapter explores the mainstreaming of transmedia organizing through case studies of three professional transmedia immigrant rights campaigns: Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and undocumented activist Jose Antonio Vargas developed Define American, a participatory video campaign linked to a feature-length documentary film. Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of Apple founder Steve Jobs, funded Davis Guggenheim, producer of An Inconvenient Truth, to create a transmedia campaign called The Dream is Now, which culminated in a high-production-value short film that was screened at the White House. In addition, a group of Silicon Valley executives, including Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, launched FWD.us, a sophisticated media campaign that uses cutting-edge online organizing tools to build support for comprehensive immigration reform, with a primary goal of increasing the number of visas available for high-skill information workers. This chapter explores these three transmedia organizing campaigns, each better resourced but less accountable to the immigrant rights movement than the last. This transition period for transmedia organizing can be located within the longer history of the professionalization of social movements, and the chapter draws on this history to argue for the importance of strong accountability mechanisms in movement media work.

Keywords:   transmedia organizing, social movement professionalization, accountability, comprehensive immigration reform, Jose Antonio Vargas, Define American, Davis Guggenheim, Mark Zuckerberg, FWD.us

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