Max Lugavere presents a new side of broadcast journalism
Published: Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, April 24, 2012 14:04
Writer, filmmaker and musician Max Lugavere is a young and avant garde journalist best known for hosting “Max and Jason” on Current TV with friend and fellow journalist Jason Silva. A founding host of the highly progressive and youth driven network launched by Al Gore in 2005, Lugavere represents the fresh face of broadcast journalism. In his perspective, the future of the industry is all about innovative storytelling and citizen journalism. More poet than preacher, Lugavere seems to constantly reinvent himself with that philosophy in mind, and shared his experiences, advice and a note of hope about it with The Ticker via email.
SK: You’ve been described as a "gonzo journalist;" would you agree with that? Define how that differs from traditional journalism to you.
ML: Gonzo journalism implies a more immersive form of storytelling. There's a detachment in the conventional reporting style with B-roll and voiceover that I find to be a bit boring. I like to throw myself into situations and, generally, that's when the best footage comes about. Ride the wave of novelty. It pays off for the viewer.
SK: You're a great advocate of citizen journalism. Where would you say it's headed?
ML: Citizen journalism is the new baseline. It's the standard. Current was launched at a time when television ignored the idea that media is and should always be participatory. That is why it was so groundbreaking. Today journalism happens in the form of long form documentary content, and it also happens in the form of 140-character tweets.
SK: And as a founding host, are you still actively working with Jason Silva or Current at all? There's been so many changes at the network, where do you think Current is headed?
ML: I may team up with Jason in the future but for right now we're both doing different things. I am still active with Current on a freelance basis for branded content. I don't know where it's headed but hopefully to a good place!
SK: You're a journalist, a musician, a documentarian, an innovator--anything else you want to add in the future?
ML: One future goal would be to broaden my experience with the film side of the business. Movies, as an art form, are tremendously powerful and I've been quite inspired by them. One of my favorite authors, [Alain de Botton,] once said, “It's not about doing everything—it's about honoring that which you suspect you may be capable of.” I think that's ultimately how one should live. We're given these finite timelines and all too often we get in our own way.
SK: Your music can be very poetic and therapeutic, is that your intent? (Click here to listen to Lugavere’s latest release)
ML: My intent as a musician is to write good songs that are truthful.
SK: What drives you to be so socially motivated in your work?
ML: We're all responsible for what happens in the world. Regardless of one's job title, there are things we need to stand up for. Scientific progress, kindness, truth in relationships. Those are the kinds of things that motivate me.
SK: What advice would you have for budding journalists straight out of college?
ML: Put content out there, even if it's uncompensated for a while. Be a builder. Don't be shy to reach out to your heros, wear your passion on your sleeve, be persistent and consistent. Rome wasn't built in a day!
SK: Do you think it's possible to be successful without being on Twitter or using other social media outlets?
ML: Yes, but Twitter is a tool that is helpful. It's not the end-all-be-all measure of influence or success by any means, but it's another tool in the toolbox.
SK: Having just returned from TEDActive, what was one element you would say stuck with you from the Full Spectrum thematic experience that would apply most to twenty somethings today?
ML: One has the ability to engineer situations in which serendipity (career or otherwise) will be most likely to occur. Going to conferences and cool networking events with like-minded people is one way. TED is masterful at bringing together brilliant people to chew on big ideas. It's a great way to expand intellectually and professionally.
SK: You contribute often to The Huffington Post, and your articles range from commentary on the economy and politics to advances in technology. What would you say you enjoy writing about most?