Pounding the pavement

Streettalkin.com finds a voice by interviewing Philly’s outspoken locals.

If Jess Conda is right about the Internet being the new TV, then she’s a nouveau television star.
Mostly known for her theater work in Philadelphia, including the 24-hour The Bald Soprano, she is now one of the personalities hosting on-the-scene interviews for streettalkin.com.

The Web site, which is less than a year old, is starting to gain notoriety with the help of partners uwishunu.com and phillyfunguide.com. In May, the reporters began featuring man-on-the-street interviews for the Web site’s alpha show Philly 55. Its name refers to the 55 hours between 5 p.m. on Friday evening and midnight on Sunday, which ostensibly count as the weekend.

Known as “Philadelphia’s Internet video channel,” Streettalkin.com is expanding its Web site to include user-produced content (Courtesy of streettalkin.com).

Along with Philly 55, the Web site hosts a wide variety of other shows that provide insight into the minds of Philadelphians. Street Trash is a show where reporters ask locals about current political issues. Past questions have included “Is Sarah Palin a good vice presidential choice for McCain?” and “Ellen got married in Los Angeles. Should Pennsylvania allow gay marriages?”

On a less political note, streettalkin.com host David “Scoops” Dyer tags along with club-hopping weekend warriors in Take Me to My Fav Nightspot. Other shows include Phasionisto for the clothes horse, DIY City for the crafty types and Philadelphia Sightseeing for the transplants who want to break into Philly culture.

The Web site is a “one-stop shop,” Dyer said.

“Of everything that’s happening in Philly,” added Gloria Esposito, who is Conda’s aunt.

Esposito began the Web site as a way to unite her “affinity for the Internet” with her pre-existing experience in television production.

“I love editing this because I have fallen in love with Philadelphia by working on this project. The heart and soul of Philadelphia is so big. There are just so many real people here,” Esposito said.

It is for this reason that Esposito and her merry band of reporters have decided to take the Web site a step further.

Viewers will soon have the capability to interact with the Web site. Instead of solely consuming content, fans of streettalkin.com will be able to post their own videos, blog about their favorite bars, restaurants and social hubs in Philadelphia and use the Web site for social networking.

“It’s going to have that whole social community aspect,” Esposito said. “We’re looking for people to join in.”

In fact, the crew at streettalkin.com hopes to create an entire show based on college life and looks forward to conducting interviews on Temple’s campus. They are searching for the next big, college-aged Internet star. The loose plan for now is to feature dorm tours, collect interviews about college life and create a few Philly 55 episodes for students.

“But we are willing to take ideas for a new show for college kids,” Esposito said.

The consensus among the group is that print isn’t so much out, as the culture is (and has been) changing. There is a need for a faster-paced media. The desire for a more face-to-face approach to news is becoming apparent and also practical.

“I’m visual. I like to read, but I also like to see what is actually out there,” Dyer said.

“I like to actually see what I am getting into before I go and invest time in it, and these videos are taking it to a whole new level.”

Courtney Davison can be reached at courtney.davison@temple.edu.

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