Reporting For Duty: What One Woman Is Doing With A Pair Of Juicy Couture Shoes, A Camera And A Dream

Sometimes, in order to get something done right, you have to leave it up to the unprofessionals. Kate Soglin is Citizen Kate, and she’s taking the virtual world by storm with her “Citizen Kate” political blog and YouTube webisode series. Claiming to know more about fashion than politics, Soglin is hot on the 2008 campaign trail and is reporting her discoveries back to her fellow laypeople, in laypeople’s terms.

Soglin’s work as Citizen Kate is a collaboration with producer/director Carey Lundin of Viva Lundin Productions, producer/director Chris Peppey and editor Steve Swanson – all Chicagoans. Coming from different professional backgrounds, Soglin and Lundin met through mutual friends and began brainstorming on the idea of a political project.

“I’m not anybody [who] knows anything about politics at all,” explains Soglin. “I’ve worked with the environment in the past and [I’ve] volunteered, but I really am clueless when it comes to politics, for the most part.” Enter Barack Obama, whom Soglin credits with igniting her interest in politics. “I have a huge love for Barack Obama,” she says. “He’s from Chicago and he is very charismatic and cute. I think everyone gets very emotional when he speaks.”

Meanwhile, Lundin hails from a political consulting background. Though she says she also wasn’t super knowledgeable about politics when she started, a decade in the field has taught her much.

“I thought [if] I’m so into politics and [Kate’s] so not into politics, what would happen if our two ends met?” Lundin recalls. “Wouldn’t there be a lot of people who would really get into this and have fun and get involved? So I basically created a show for Kate that’s now on YouTube and MySpace and we’re getting a lot of recognition.”

Lundin says she and Peppey, a former faculty member at Columbia College Chicago’s film and video department, have been acting as each other’s creative partners for the past six months or so in order to get “Citizen Kate” off the ground. Between the two, and with the help of Soglin and Swanson, the group has successfully been performing every task necessary for the project.

“It’s a real collaborative process,” Lundin says. “It’s great. We have a lot of fun and we laugh a lot. If we laugh we figure other people will.”

One episode of “Citizen Kate” takes place in Springfield, IL during Obama’s presidential candidacy announcement. Soglin says although she wasn’t 100 percent sure what Obama’s announcement would be, she was excited to be in Springfield and so close to her favorite politician. “I didn’t want to get too excited about him running for president,” she says.

So far, the “Citizen Kate” phenomenon has been catching on. Already, Soglin has been featured in the “Chicago Tribune” and the “Economist,” unbeknownst to the “Citizen Kate” crew! “We didn’t even know these articles had appeared,” says Lundin. “They just found us because Kate is so charming.  She wears good shoes.”

Also, according to Soglin, the “Citizen Kate” webisode was YouTube’s pick of the week for the week of April16, and international fans have been subscribing to the blog and leaving comments. Soglin and Lundin say “Citizen Kate’s” Internet presence is a big part of its success. Though they are entertaining other broadcast options, the team is really focusing on maintaining a strong ‘net presence, especially because of the YouTube/MySpace explosion.

“Right now we’re trying to figure out and navigate the whole online medium and we think it’s a pretty powerful place to begin,” Soglin says. “A lot of people are gong to YouTube and MySpace to get their information, so we figured it was a really good way to get the message out there. I think we’re certainly open to anything [no matter] where this may take us in the future.”





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