I am a master’s student at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Conn. Before joining the program, I had worked for a combined four years in the newspaper industry at publications in Oklahoma and Arkansas. I decided to come to QU to help bolster my digital skills, while figuring out where I best fit into the ever-changing media landscape.
This project is a largely a response to a series of questions that have been posed to me since I first stepped onto the campus at Quinnipiac: What is your digital voice? What is your self-brand? What is your online identity?
I did not have an exact answer to those questions but I imagined that it would be harder to find those answers given that I have a common name that possibly thousands share around the world.
Instead of looking at the issue in a wide global scope, I wanted to use the reporting abilities I picked up as a newspaper writer to delve into the lives of other Steve Schmidts who lived in my part of the world. In this case, that is the New York City metro area.
The location of the five Steve Schmidts (including me).
I saw this project as a great outlet to help combine my previous career as a traditional writer with multimedia modalities—or in particular, video production. One of my favorite aspects of writing features is sitting in someone’s living room and finding out who he or she is as an individual. Whenever I would sit down, though, I would do so with a digital recorder and a pad of paper. I wanted to capture that same experience, but through a video camera.
I ended up talking to and filming the lives of four other Steve Schmidts: one from New Jersey, two from New York and a fellow resident of Connecticut. I asked them a similar set of questions to the ones that have been posed to me and later made a six-part documentary to chronicle my findings to complete my master’s project in order to graduate. You can find a sampling of those questions here.
The documentary was made strictly for educational and non-commercial purposes.