the tele-reporter

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The goal of the Tele-Reporter project is to design a system that allows for complete and open interaction between news providers and the news audience. The audience will, as a group, be able to "direct" the flow of a live news report by offering suggestions and requests on what actions to take, who to talk to, or what questions to ask.

The Tele-Reporter is an extension of the Tele-Actor system, an ongoing research project in telepresence under development at the MIT Media Laboratory and the University of California at Berkeley. The Tele-Actor interface allows remote users to share control of a human "Tele-Actor," sending commands decided by majority vote to the actor and following progress through a live video feed streaming from a camera on the actor's person.

The Tele-Actor has made several public appearances, most recently including the 2001 Webby Awards and a Media Lab sponsor event. As the emphasis in these trials has been exploration and flexibility in tele-direction, the Tele-Actor has no fundamentally identifying role other than to follow directions, which have tended to the whimsical and unstructured side. In adapting the Tele-Actor to assume a reporter's role and shifting the context of interaction to a live news report, we will strive for a more focused, purpose-driven collaborative experience.


The Tele-Reporter system is an interface allowing the audience of a news program to collaborate in making real-time requests to a live reporter. The main priority, therefore, in the design of this interface is to ensure that users will be able to collaborate naturally and effectively.

System design will focus on building a constructive online community environment and developing an intuitive voting mechanism for collaboration.

Project elements include:

Reporter Gear. includes discreetly located camera, microphone and an LCD displaying the current winning command. The display includes buttons allowing the reporter to veto a command, speed up voting or ask for more time.

Audio/Video Feed. delivers live audio and video from the reporter to the audience, with a minimum of transmission and buffering delay.

Audience Interface. web interface where the audience can watch the broadcast, chat with fellow viewers, and make and vote for suggestions.

Reward System. compliments viewers with winning suggestions and punishes contributors to inappropriate suggestions.

test the tele-reporter preliminary build