Thursday, 13 August 2009

What Don't Panic, the Duncan embarrasser, is actually all about

Don’t Panic scored quite a coup recently, with its embarrassing undercover Alan Duncan video making the BBC’s News at 10.

But what is Don’t Panic? It is being described as an activist group, which is clearly part of what it does. But infact it’s much more than that – a very modern publishing enterprise that, to my mind, points to the future for web-based multimedia magazines.

I interviewed editor Heydon Prowse, and man behind the Duncan tape, for my forthcoming book Multimedia Journalism: A Practical Guide

As Heydon makes clear, Don’t Panic is first and foremost a marketing company.
Its web presence on Facebook and other social networking sites sprang from the marketing side of things and it has grown into a sort of lifestyle magazine for London 20-somethings who enjoy gigs, nightlife and generally going out. 

But there are other commercial activities. For example, Don’t Panic created a quit smoking campaign for Camden council. He’s editor, but he also sells advertising.

In this video, Heydon explains how Don't Panic grew from a marketing company distributing flyers into a multimedia site, and how Facebook and other social networking sites are an essential part of the enterprise. The video was shot on a Nokia N95 in the magazine’s busy, noisy office in Brixton, so sorry about the clatter and interruptions!

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