Designing Interactions

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Joel Hyatt

Joel served as national finance chair for the Democratic Party in the presidential election campaign of 2000, getting to know Al Gore in the process. After the election they decided to build a new, exciting, and different form of medium to democratize the creation of TV content. Before 2000 Joel had a distinguished legal and political career with a recurring theme of opening closed systems to enhance participation. Joel and Al developed a concept to combine television broadcasting with participation by audience members, enabled by the Internet. In 2004 they purchased Newsworld International, a cable news channel programmed by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation that aired news programming from around the world, and started to build a team in San Francisco. They relaunched the network as the Current TV platform on August 1, 2005, providing a news and information service that pioneered the concept of usergenerated content on cable and satellite TV.

Joel Hyatt, vice chairman of Current Media and subject of thefirst interview, saw a closed media industry that he wanted to help transform into something that could support a vibrant democratic society. The idea of building a new kind of media company that could help facilitate a global conversation was an inspiring challenge. With Al Gore as a founding partner, he set about creating a television production company that would have 40 percent of the output generated by the audience but also benefit from professional editorial control and curation. It would also leverage Internet-based content for influence, commentary and discussion.

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