WAN-IFRA

A publication of the World Editors Forum

Date

Tue - 29.07.2014


citizen journalism

As is the case with many breaking news stories, this one first surfaced on Twitter – one tweet, then two, then hundreds, all bearing the same piece of news: there has been a horrific massacre in a Damascus suburb on Saturday 20 April... and the media are ignoring it. According to Twitter users, 450 people were killed by the forces of President Bashar al-Assad, including women and children, in an effort to eliminate a large number of terrorists in the area. Not exactly an ignorable news item...

The hashtag #rememberthe450 began trending on the micro-blogging site. Twitter users sensed it was their moral obligation to make this human tragedy known to the world, and simultaneously to denounce the silence of the traditional media who were failing to keep up with breaking news of such a shocking nature.

This isn't entirely true, though. Delesalle points out that the media did not ignore events in Syria, they simply chose to limit what they reported in order to avoid misinforming the public. CNN, France 24, BBC and The New York Times all reported on the violence at Jdeidet al-Fadel on their websites, but all reinforced the fact that they did not have sufficient information on the attack, and therefore, were reluctant to report on specifics as important as the number of fatalities.

Author

Emily Moore

Date

2013-04-24 17:27

According to French journalist Laure Nouraout on meta-media.fr, the summit panelists made reference to the Boston bombing regularly throughout the day to provide a solid basis for their discussions. As David Hayward, Director of the BBC College of Journalism's events programme wrote on his blog: "Last week was quite extraordinary for breaking news stories. I was in New York for most of it, preparing for the BBC College of Journalism and New York Times Social Media Summit #smsnyc. As many people pointed out, the event could not have come at a better time for the issues that were to emerge."

The summit took a critical glance at the way in which breaking news is treated and consumed by the masses. The general consensus seems to be that events in Boston have acted as a real game-changer for the relationship between journalism and social media. Developments during the Boston bombing scandal were reported and discussed on Twitter on an unprecedented scale and hereby revealed the extent to which traditional methods of news reporting such as TV and radio are growing largely outdated.

Author

Emily Moore

Date

2013-04-23 17:49

The group currently aggregates news through its Your Anon News Twitter and Tumblr feeds, but the new website will feature original reporting by citizen journalists. It is unclear whether contributors will be paid.

“We’ll provide feeds for citizen journalists who livestream events as they are taking place, instead of the 10-second sound bites provided by the corporate media,” a Your Anon News release says.

The new site will continue YAN's mission to avoid “the constraints placed upon mainstream media outlets” and be a news source free of “political and celebrity gossip."

The site “could be like nothing the Internet has ever seen before,” The Next Web’s Nick Summers wrote. But despite YAN’s mission to avoid the troubles that riddle mainstream media, it will likely face unique issues.

Author

Kira Witkin's picture

Kira Witkin

Date

2013-04-18 17:44

a “boot camp” for journalists

Reddit is a great training tool for writers because unlike on Facebook and Twitter, users cannot lean on their followers and friends to make their posts successful. Instead, each post’s quality of writing and message is individually evaluated. Each post has an equal likelihood of making it to the site’s front page at its genesis, regardless of its author. Thus large follower bases aren’t rewarded, as they would be on Twitter and Facebook. What’s instead rewarded is concise and witty writing, the length of “half-tweets” — the same skills vital for writing headlines, which in the digital era are more important than ever. And with the deluge of posts on the site (last month there were over 55 million unique Redditors), users must hone these skills for their writing to make the front page.

Author

Kira Witkin's picture

Kira Witkin

Date

2013-04-04 12:29

In Syria, where 28 journalists have been killed since the March 2011 uprising, the stakes are much higher in spreading the news. Rather than report on the state of traffic, as citizen journalists in other countries might, Syrians are tackling hard news topics including lawlessness, theft, kidnapping and lack of services, according to Al Jazeera English. Journalists complain about the new reality in rebel-controlled areas, even if it involves criticizing some of the armed groups. 

"Kidnappings and theft are on the rise. We have one thousand Bashars [al-Assad, the Syrian president] now, and they are all powerful. There is no security,” said Syrian journalist Mohammed Sayed.

The majority of news reports from Syria consist of information put together by journalists outside the country and attributed to unnamed “activists.” Many journalists go under pseudonyms to prevent imprisonment, or even death.

Author

Briana Seftel

Date

2013-04-02 17:01

“I was increasingly becoming a third-party broker, if you will, between people who had captured newsworthy content at scenes of stories and my colleagues back at work, who would effectively offer them money to buy that content,” Ebeli said. “I realized that this was the way things were going and that there needed to be a centralized location for newsworthy content online.”

Thus he created Newsmodo, which will make its formal international debut at WAN-IFRA’s Digital Media Europe conference in London, April 15-17. Ebeli described the platform, expected to go live mid-April, as a “one-stop shop” for media organizations and journalists to pitch and find freelance assignments throughout the world. With newsrooms’ resources dwindling, more publications are relying on freelance content — and more need a platform like Newsmodo, Ebeli said.

“They have less personnel on the ground and they have more and more news to cover and audiences have higher expectations,” Ebeli said. “They need to be nimble, they need to be agile and they need to be forward-thinking. That’s why they’re looking for platforms like Newsmodo.”

Ebeli said he began his work by constructing Newsme.com.au, the “little brother of Newsmodo,” back in 2011. But he later abandoned that site, which focused on citizen journalism.

Author

Kira Witkin's picture

Kira Witkin

Date

2013-04-02 15:49

Twenty digital journalism projects have earned US$ 1 million in funding and technical support, making the Challenge the largest fund for digital journalism experimentation in Africa. These projects focus on citizen engagement, investigative tools and whistleblower security.

As one of the judges, I can tell you these projects are applicable anywhere. The list of winners, announced last week – and choosing them was nearly impossible – can be found here.

Thanks to the African Media Initiative, the organizer of the Challenge, a description of all of the entries – some 500 projects – are online and available for browsing. This is a great resource for anyone looking for new digital journalism ideas.

Author

Larry Kilman's picture

Larry Kilman

Date

2012-12-04 09:44

Did someone known as BitchslappedByLogic do a better job than the mainstream media of covering a Toronto shooting that left 2 dead and 24 wounded after a street party turned violent on Monday night?

Below is an excerpt from BitchslappedByLogic's post about the shooting on Reddit, a social news website founded in 2005. It is a bluntly articulated jigsaw puzzle of linked tweets (or screenshots of tweets in cases where the original posts have been removed) that pieces together the night's violent events, and their potential ramifications in the community.

Below that is an excerpt from coverage of the shooting by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) - Canada's national public television and radio broadcaster, created in 1936.

Let us compare.

______

Reddit

Random portraits of the situation gleaned from twitter.

Author

Emma Knight's picture

Emma Knight

Date

2012-07-18 11:58

Influential citizen journalist overcomes censorship thanks to online support.

No, this is not a headline from a repressive region, but a description of nine-year-old blogger in Scotland named Martha Payne, who has been allowed to continue a blog in which she photographs and rates her school dinners, after the local council reversed a decision saying that she would no longer be able to take pictures in the dining hall.

Martha, who writes under the name Veg, created a blog named Never Seconds, in which she took pictures of her school dinners every day and rated them according to her own set of criteria.

“- Food-o-meter- Out of 10 a rank of how great my lunch was!

- Mouthfuls- How else can we judge portion size!

- Courses- Starter/main or main/dessert

- Health Rating- Out of 10, can healthy foods top the food-o-meter?

- Price- Currently £2 I think, its all done on a cashless catering card

- Pieces of hair- It wont happen, will it?”

Author

Hannah Vinter's picture

Hannah Vinter

Date

2012-06-15 19:04

In countries like Syria, where the authorities make it nearly impossible for professional journalists to operate, citizen journalism has become crucial to keeping the world informed about what is happening on the ground.

To facilitate this difficult, dangerous and frequently deadly work, the live video streaming service Bambuser announced yesterday that it will start giving citizen journalists free premium access to its product.

Citizen reporters who want to apply simply have to email info@bambuser.com with their Bambuser username and a short description of the content they produce. In return, the video streamer promises to give them an ad-free service with unlimited viewing hours and storage, as well as access to statistics about their videos and special customisation options.

Normally premium access costs between €99 and €499 a month and, even at the top end, viewing hours are not unlimited.

Author

Hannah Vinter's picture

Hannah Vinter

Date

2012-05-30 18:20

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