Chuck Olsen loved his home state of Minnesota so much he made a vlog about it. Besides experience as a Senior Web Producer at Twin Cities Public Television, he also has a background in filmmaking and blogging. His personal blog was even nominated for an award at the Southwest Interactive Festival in 2004 and his other vlog, Secret Vlog Injection, was a success until he switched his focus to Minnesota Stories and found work as a part-time correspondent for Rocketboom.
He calls his citizen journalist project an experiment in decentralized citizen media, the idea being that his vlog provides a welcome platform for Minnesota residents to share stories, films, music, and views on local politics. Olsen launched the site in July 2005 and he’s been providing regular updates ever since.
The entry that started the project was a humble introduction in which Chuck’s girlfriend Lorika attempted to fry an egg on the steamy sidewalk. Although there is the occasional bit of random fun, the videos have since focused on topics more pertinent to Minnesota residents, running the gamut from coverage of local entertainment events and video art to a peek into a town hall community meeting on crime.
A series shot at the Minnesota State Fair was highly entertaining from a gastronomical perspective. Karina, of Schmlog fame, taste-tests some of the fair’s treats, in a greasy battle between intestines and taste buds; deep-fried chocolate chip cookies and mac n’ cheese nuggets on a stick make appearances.
Olsen really does try to encapsulate everything in the five-minute episodes, but if you’re from Minnesota and find something in your lifestyle that isn’t being covered, the site encourages submissions and, even more, encourages creation of other Minnesota vlogs.
One of the kookier videos featuring local color is Olsen’s entry on the Minnesota Rollergirls in their championship competition. They race in lit-up neon outfits, pitting the Atomic Bombshells against the Garda Belts for 3rd place and the Rockits versus the Dagger Dolls for the title.