posts about or somewhat related to ‘citizen journalism’

If we are all journalists now, what happens to the privileges journalists used to claim? →

Via Index on Censorship:

We are used to telling ourselves by now that journalism is a manifestation of a human right — that of free expression. Smartphones, cheap recording equipment, and free access to social media and blogging platforms have revolutionised journalism; the means of production have fallen into the hands of the many.

This is a good thing. The more information we have on events, surely the better. But one question does arise: if we are all journalists now, what happens to the privileges journalists used to claim?

Official press identification in the UK states that the holder is recognised by police as a “bona fide newsgatherer”. As statements of status go, it seems a paltry thing. But it does imply that some exception must be made for the bearer. The recognised journalist, it is suggested, should be free to roam a scene unmolested. One can ask questions and reasonably expect an answer. One can wield a video or audio device and not have it confiscated. One can talk to whoever one wants, without fear of recrimination.

That, at least, is the theory. But in Britain, the US and elsewhere, the practice has been changing. Whether during periods of unrest or after, police have shown a disregard for the integrity of journalists’ work. The actions of police in Ferguson have merely been part of a pattern.

FJP: As of August 22, 17 reporters had been arrested in Ferguson. 

10 Tips for Filming Protests, Demonstrations & Police Misconduct

Remember though, if you can’t run with it, probably best not to bring it.

This and other timely filming tips are available here (PDFs).

ImagesVia WITNESS. Select to embiggen.

Independent and Citizen Journalism in #Ferguson
Via GigaOm: Crowd-powered journalism becomes crucial when traditional media is unwilling or unable:

Just as it did in Egypt and Ukraine, the stream of updates from Ferguson — both from amateur or non-journalists, eyewitnesses and professional reporters for various outlets — turned into a feed of breaking news unlike anything that non-Twitter users were getting from the major news networks and cable channels. Most of the latter continued with their regular programming, just as media outlets in Turkey and Ukraine avoided mentioning the growing demonstrations in their cities. In a very real sense, citizen-powered journalism filled the gap left by traditional media, which were either incapable or unwilling to cover the news.

Related, also via GigaOm: You can use your phone to film the police, even if they tell you not to.
Related, once again: Argus Radio was webcasting events last night from Ferguson via their Livestream channel and will start again today at 3pm.
Image: Screenshot from Argus Radio’s “I Am Mike Brown” Livestream channel.

Independent and Citizen Journalism in #Ferguson

Via GigaOm: Crowd-powered journalism becomes crucial when traditional media is unwilling or unable:

Just as it did in Egypt and Ukraine, the stream of updates from Ferguson — both from amateur or non-journalists, eyewitnesses and professional reporters for various outlets — turned into a feed of breaking news unlike anything that non-Twitter users were getting from the major news networks and cable channels. Most of the latter continued with their regular programming, just as media outlets in Turkey and Ukraine avoided mentioning the growing demonstrations in their cities. In a very real sense, citizen-powered journalism filled the gap left by traditional media, which were either incapable or unwilling to cover the news.

Related, also via GigaOm: You can use your phone to film the police, even if they tell you not to.

Related, once again: Argus Radio was webcasting events last night from Ferguson via their Livestream channel and will start again today at 3pm.

Image: Screenshot from Argus Radio’s “I Am Mike Brown” Livestream channel.

In a dictatorship, independent journalism by default becomes a form of activism, and the spread of information is essentially an act of agitation.

Looking Back at 2013 in Citizen Video

Via WITNESS:

Police brutality, torture, chemical weapons attacks. Through the lenses of bystanders, witnesses, and sometimes even perpetrators, we were transported to this year’s the darkest episodes of humanity, all with the ease of a click, and the speed of an upload…

…In 2013, the Human Rights Channel curated nearly 2300 videos from 100 countries. Collectively, they reveal not only what citizen journalists filmed this year, but how that video was seen and used. Never before have YouTube videos brought egregious abuse to such influential audiences. But as the importance of citizen video becomes clear, so too do the challenges it involves, including the need for verification and the potential of misuse.

Warning: Graphic Footage

Disclosure: WITNESS’ Human Rights Channel is a partnership between WITNESS – where I run digital – and Storyful. – Michael

Meanwhile, in Syria

Over the last five days the Syrian government has driving into rebel-held Aleppo in order to reclaim the territory.

This video, from a Syrian activist, alleges to show what happened this morning (GRAPHIC).

According to Doctors Without Borders, “Airstrikes in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo have killed at least 189 people and wounded 879 people since December 15, according to local medical sources, the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said today. Among the injured are 244 children.”

Related: Syria ‘abducting civilians to spread terror’, UN says, via the BBC.

But the most important question for this “family album” will be to what extent we can enlarge our notion of family. If viewed as happening to the “other,” then much of this imagery—whether joyous or painful—will be ignored by those not directly affected. If, on the other hand, we see ourselves as mutually dependent, both happy for each other’s successes and attentive to each other’s welfare, then even the harshest imagery created by communities of their own distress can serve a purpose.

Fred Ritchin, professor at NYU and co-director of the Photography & Human Rights Program at Tisch in an article for TIME LightBox on Hurricane Sandy, One Year Later.

He discusses the growing practice of and potential for communities to portray themselves through photography, be it professionals having access to a larger audience through the web, or amateurs using their mobile phones to capture events.

Instagram, for example, allows professionals and amateurs alike to immediately upload images; during Hurricane Sandy last year, ten photos tagged to the storm were uploaded every second; 800,000 pictures were uploaded in all. In contrast, the monumental, multi-year Farm Security Administration program created during the New Deal that focused on American rural poverty with photographers such as Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, Russell Lee, Gordon Parks, Arthur Rothstein and Ben Shahn, produced roughly 250,000 images total.

While Instagram as a photographic and journalistic medium has its critics, one of its positive features is the fact that users can see only one photo at a time on their phone, which, Ritchin points out, provides the viewer a type of respite from the visual chaos of the web. At a time when increasing numbers of citizens around the world are documenting everything from war to human rights atrocities to their daily lives, a coherent way to filter this imagery is missing. Not all disasters are the same, he writes:

Whereas Hurricane Sandy was a catastrophe that those in the Northeastern United States suffered through together, sharing each other’s vulnerability, other circumstances may be more problematic. What might have been the result if those trapped inside the World Trade Towers on September 11 had possessed cellphone cameras? Would it have been enlightening for others on the outside if they were able to distribute images of their terrible predicament, or would large amounts of such first-person imagery have provoked an ugly voyeurism amounting to re-victimization? Would these images have further increased the trauma for a horrified, largely powerless public to even more intolerable levels, and with it the calls for vengeance?

Our task is two-fold: 1) “to develop practical applications for this abundance of imagery” and 2) to find ways to make this “family album” that stretches the world over accessible to us, in our media consumption cycles as something other than an overload of imagery lest it cause “an even greater distancing from events” due to our inability to process the abundance. 

All that in mind, view the photo essay "Hurricane Sandy, One Year Later: Self-Portraits of Communities in Distress" here.

In comparison with other areas on the globe, the West Bank and Gaza might seem to many to be “flooded” with media. This is true in a sense, but it also misses a point. Traditional media, including local outlets, tend to go to the most expected places, and film the familiar shots over and over again. Both Israelis and Palestinians are tired of hearing the same news, and media outlets are less inclined to send crews to film an “occupation.” This leaves a great deal of space for citizen journalists, and the West Bank contains many of them.

Our model of citizen journalism is based on working with the “regular” local population, rather than with activists, and many of the videos we publish are filmed from windows, balconies and roofs rather than by someone involved in the incidents. This, I think, gives the videos a special quality, and helps the Israeli audience see the reality from the eyes, or camera lenses, of ordinary Palestinians. It is also important in terms of access, and allows us to monitor and document incidents that occur daily in Palestinian streets and fields.

— Yoav Gross, Video Department Director of the Israeli citizen journalism organization B’Tselem to Witness.org. Citizen Video for Journalists: How One Israeli Group Became a Trusted Source for News.

Aleppo
Via the Times of Israel: This citizen journalism image provided by Aleppo Media Center AMC, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows people searching through the debris of destroyed buildings in the aftermath of a strike by Syrian government forces, in the neighborhood of Jabal Bedro, Aleppo, Syria, Tuesday Feb. 19, 2013 (photo credit: AP/Aleppo Media Center)
The Aleppo Media Center (English) is on Facebook.

Aleppo

Via the Times of Israel: This citizen journalism image provided by Aleppo Media Center AMC, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows people searching through the debris of destroyed buildings in the aftermath of a strike by Syrian government forces, in the neighborhood of Jabal Bedro, Aleppo, Syria, Tuesday Feb. 19, 2013 (photo credit: AP/Aleppo Media Center)

The Aleppo Media Center (English) is on Facebook.

Who reads music writing? There’s obviously a core of readers invested in what reviews and think pieces have to say — they debate on Twitter and in specialist havens like I Love Music, on their Facebook feeds and even sometimes in the comment sections. The economics of the web, which are both more directly tied to traffic numbers and lower-margin than those of print, make that audience too small to make any economic sense as a core demographic; readers outside the Best Music Writing-obsessed have to be reached as well.

Maura Johnson, NPR Music. What Happened To Music Writing This Year?

Johnson is on to something, and it’s not just about music writing — it’s about journalism as an increasingly porous activity. Lists and lightweight news bites regularly become the day’s most shared content. And many people who would be receptive to more in-depth, thoughtful content are likely banging out article-worthy ideas in online conversations.

She continues, asking a question all up-and-comers should ask themselves:

And this is where the larger quandary comes in. If the idea is to “serve the reader,” does that mean exposing them to new things they haven’t heard and ideas that might not have been aired yet, or does it mean pivoting off the conventional wisdom in some way?

H/T: Jay Rosen.

Global Voices and the Power of We →

See Global Voices, a citizen journalism site that does an incredible job of providing passionate people with a place to coordinate and research, write, translate and distribute online news. Above is a case study of a land grab in Brazil, and follows the story from idea to Italian, among other languages.

Citizen Journalism Outfitters in Cairo Succeed in Crowdfunding Campaign

An Egyptian “media collective” called Mosireen, which trains journalists and activists in the Cairo area, successfully finished its crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo.

From an interview with the collective’s leader, Salma Said, posted at The Lede:

The activists initially came together to build an archive of clips documenting the street protests of early 2011, Ms. Said said, but then, struck by the lack of independent reporting on the post-Mubarak government, they began to make their own reports, often incorporating video recorded on phones. Given that the airwaves were still dominated by state channels that were loath to broadcast any critical reports on the country’s new rulers, the Mosireen activists staged a series of public screenings of video that challenged official accounts of clashes, like the claim that the security forces only used force against “thugs,” not peaceful protesters.

With it, they’ll continue to screen films, train journalists, and do archival work. See their videos, taken by those they’ve trained in workshops, on YoutTube or in Cairo.

Calling all Citizens: You Have a Right to Record

Today is a day we can (and should) all be journalists, especially if we witness voter suppression. Here’s how to do it safely. 

Free Press:

Video the Vote is a nonpartisan effort to train thousands of people to document any instances of voter suppression and disenfranchisement at polling places across the U.S. The group is particularly interested in finding people who can livestream from swing states where there is a heightened concern about ongoing voter-suppression efforts (see a full list of target counties here). Video the Vote is even offering a $100 stipend to volunteers.

If you’re planning to record from a polling place or interview voters, it’s important you know your rights and understand local laws. Video the Vote has put together a great set of resources to help citizen journalists. A few key points from the group’s Election Day Code of Conduct include:

  • Observe and document; don’t influence.
  • Remain a legal distance from the polling place.
  • Get permission from voters before you film them.
  • Never argue with a poll worker.

Before you head out, contact Barni Qaasim at Video the Vote at barni@videothevote.org for more information and to connect with other citizen journalists in your area.

Harvard’s Digital Media Law Project has an excellent and detailed legal guide to documenting the vote.

FJP: Go vote! Be smart. And be fearless.

Five Ways to Get a Grant to Finance Your Journalism Career →

1. Be Specific in Your Application

Think of a topic, project or proposal that you are excited about. Then make it more specific. Then make it even more specific.

2. Like a Good Reporter, Do Your Research

Once you’ve chosen a proposal, seriously investigate the organizations that are most likely to care about your work.

3. If a Grant is Only Available to Organizations, Don’t Get Discouraged

A huge chunk of grants are designed to support nonprofit organizations but, as it turns out, there is a way for strong individual applicants to take advantage of them anyway.

“If a foundation is interested in giving you a grant, but they only fund organizations, you can go through a fiscal sponsor,” Kira Kay, executive director of the Bureau for International Reporting, said by phone. “They provide you with the administration and legal legitimacy of a nonprofit, so you can harvest foundation grants that aren’t normally available to individuals.”

Here’s how it works: Fiscal sponsors are official 501(c)(3) public charities that are eligible to receive nonprofit grants, but can pass their sponsorship onto individual grant applicants. By going through a fiscal sponsor, individuals can seek grants and solicit tax-deductible donations in the same way that nonprofit organizations can.

4. Consider Grants that Aren’t Specifically for Reporters

If you’d like to do an international project, look for grant funding from NGOs, aid organizations, or research foundations that focus on your country, region or topic of interest. For example, the Luce Scholars Program offers grants for projects in Asia, while Inter American Press Association Fellowships fund projects in Latin America and the Caribbean.

If you work in multimedia formats, consider grants for photographers, radio producers and filmmakers, such as the Aaron Siskind Foundation Grant orNational Press Photographers Association Grants. Even broad grants that fund general research projects, like the Fulbright, can be great ways to subsidize long-term freelance reporting work.

5. Demonstrate Potential for Success

So for journalists who don’t have a well-established portfolio of clips (or don’t have clips that are relevant to their grant project), examples of self-published work can be just as useful.

“I’m a big believer in producing a project that you believe in that showcases your skills and putting it on your own website,” Moore said by phone. “People who are interested in funding don’t care whether your project has appeared on NPR — they just want to know that you can get a project done.”

Read more at Poynter.