digital nation - life on the virtual frontier

What is Digital Nation?


Digital Nation is a new, open source PBS project that explores what it means to be human in an entirely new world -- a digital world. It consists of this Web site as well as a major FRONTLINE documentary to be broadcast on Feb. 2, 2010. Our production team is posting rough cuts and raw footage on the web, and gathering input, feedback and stories from users as we go.


Correspondent Douglas Rushkoff explains how he got into this whole Internet thing.
How I Got Started
Rushkoff shares some thoughts on the Internet.
Life, Sped Up
Our correspondent describes what parts of Digital Nation most intrigue him.
Hopes for Digital Nation


One recent evening, I had chicken parmignana bubbling on a platter on the table. My eight year old son was playing Spore, the Will Wright video game that pits a self-designed two-celled creature against the whole of the animal kingdom and has it evolve into animal life, civilization, then outer space.

My 10-year-old was corresponding with his grandmother on e-mail. My 5-year old-daughter had repossessed my iPhone, which she had somehow lifted out of my purse, and was taking pictures of herself, examining the picture, then taking another one. And my husband was working at his laptop, which seems to have grown into another limb these days. I'm not alone. This is modern life, for more and more of us. As writer Doug Rushkoff put it, without moving an inch, we find ourselves and our children in an entirely new place.

Digital Nation is an effort to define this new space and to put some walls around it. We wanted to give our viewers a chance to come together to share what is becoming an increasingly common feeling: that technology is changing us, or -- put less controversially -- that with technology, we are changing.

We hope you’ll join the conversation.

    - Rachel Dretzin

Rachel Dretzin - Producer/Director

Rachel Dretzin

An award-winning journalist, Rachel has been producing documentaries for FRONTLINE since the mid-1990s. She and her husband, filmmaker Barak Goodman, are joint partners in Ark Media, a documentary production company based in Brooklyn, New York. Together, they have produced and directed numerous documentaries for FRONTLINE, including: The Lost Children of Rockdale County (1999) winner of the George Foster Peabody Award; the three-part series Failure to Protect (2003), winner of the duPont-Columbia Silver Baton as well as the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award Grand Prize; Merchants of Cool (2001); The Persuaders (2004); and A Hidden Life (2006). Independently, Rachel's films for FRONTLINE include Hillary's Class (1994); Betting on the Market (1997); The High Price of Health (1998); The Search for Satan (1995) and Growing Up Online (2008). She has also produced for WNET New York, NPR's All Things Considered, MSNBC's Edgewise and most recently, a short film for The New York Times Magazine on the Web. She and Goodman have three children, ages 11, 8 and 6.

Douglas Rushkoff - Correspondent

Douglas Rushkoff

Winner of the first Neil Postman award for Career Achievement in Public Intellectual Activity, Douglas has written ten best-selling books on new media and popular culture. They include Cyberia, Media Virus, Playing the Future, Nothing Sacred: The Truth about Judaism, and Coercion, winner of the Marshall Mcluhan Award for best media book. He has just finished a book applying renaissance principles to today's complex economic landscape, Get Back in the Box: Innovation from the Inside Out, and his newest book that defines the corporate spectacle, Life Incorporated: How the World Became A Corporation and How To Take It Back will be released in June 2009. His comic book out on DC Comics, Testament, has a huge cult following as he continues the story of the Bible in modern times. Douglas just recently started a weekly talk radio show, The Media Squat, on WFMU which highlights a weekly guest to discuss an array of ideas and issues. He has co-written and hosted two past FRONTLINE documentaries -- The Merchants of Cool and The Persuaders. Doug has taught at NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program, and will begin a new semester this Fall teaching at The New School. His articles, columns, and voice have been featured in numerous outlets including Arthur Magazine, The New York Times, Discover and NPR Radio.

Caitlin McNally - Co-producer

Caitlin McNally

Caitlin has been the associate producer of several Ark Media films for FRONTLINE, including A Hidden Life and Growing Up Online. Caitlin co-wrote, co-produced and edited Congo: On the Trail of an AK-47, a film about China's involvement in the African gun trade, for FRONTLINE/World, and has also produced video for the WNYC/PRI public radio program, The Takeaway. In 2006, Caitlin associate produced Rory Kennedy's Emmy award-winning HBO documentary, The Ghosts of Abu Ghraib. Before all this, Caitlin lived in Morocco, where she directed a series of performance videos and short documentaries about Moroccan Sufi musicians. In the fall of 2009, a DVD/CD documentary compilation of her work, Portraits of Gnawa, will be released on Drag City Records. She lives in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn.

R.A. Fedde - Editor and Web Producer

R.A. Fedde

Since escaping a successful Silicon Valley career in 2001, Fedde has edited everything from wild horses to Marilyn Manson. Her work includes 10 Days that Unexpectedly Changed America: Antietam and Combat Diary, which was nominated for a 2006 Emmy. She has worked on numerous PBS shows, including Growing Up Online and A Hidden Life for FRONTLINE and The Lobotomist for American Experience. She also co-owns the Brooklyn Fencing Center, Brooklyn's first Olympic-style fencing club, and fences competitively. She lives in Brooklyn and is an alumna of the Rhode Island School of Design.

Jeffrey Irvine - Associate Producer

Jeffrey Irvine

Jeffrey first worked on FRONTLINE in 2005 as an intern for David Sutherland's film Country Boys. Since then, he has worked on several other FRONTLINE programs -- he interned on News War: Secrets, Sources & Spin and was the field producer of Rules of Engagement. He also worked on Space Shuttle Disaster for NOVA. Digital Nation is his first foray into the world of web content and blogging. In his free time, he plays for New York City's best Ultimate Frisbee team, Pride of New York. An alumnus of Syracuse University, he lives in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

Ramona Pringle - Interactive Media Producer, Your Digital Nation

Ramona Pringlef

Ramona is an interactive media designer and interdisciplinary artist. As writer, editor, director and actor, she identifies herself as a storyteller, and she is fascinated to be collecting stories from wired citizens around the world for "Your Digital Nation." Ramona was a host and entertainment reporter for CBC's The X and has acted in productions such as Shoot 'Em Up and Cinderella Man for studios including New Line Cinema, Disney, Columbia, Fox and Lionsgate. As a media designer, her recent projects with the Peak Media Collective include The Media Tree at Casino Niagara and Winter Sky at Sherway Gardens. Ramona has a BFA in film and video from York University, has taught in the film and television department at NYU and has completed a Masters Degree in Interactive Media at NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program.

Meet the Digital Nation Team

Rachel Dretzin - Producer/Director
Rachel Dretzin“My daughter picked up my iPhone practically as soon as she lost her pacifier."
Read Rachel's bio >

Douglas Rushkoff - Correspondent
Douglas Rushkoff“I don’t use the Internet for fun, I’m sorry to say."
Read Doug's bio >

Caitlin McNally - Co-producer
Caitlin McNally"Secretly yearning to completely unplug."
Read Caitlin's bio >

R.A. Fedde - Editor/Web Producer
R.A. Fedde“I can't live without my iPhone. No, really."
Read Fedde's bio >

Jeffrey Irvine - Associate Producer
Jeffrey Irvine“Not a Digital Native, not yet a Digital Immigrant."
Read Jeff's bio >

Ramona Pringle - Interactive Media Producer
Ramona Pringle“I'm at the mercy of my Internet connection, but driven by the human connection."
Read Ramona's bio >

posted February 2, 2010

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