YouTube video sparks investigation

YouTube videos in Vancouver catch collapsing walls at a construction site, tumbling into the daily lives of pedestrians and cars. In the past few days since PSP92262 and others posted the videos on YouTube,  an investigation has halted the construction, not to mention the hundreds of thousands of views. Mainstream media has since picked up the story.

One local media, NOW, credits citizen journalism with these remarks, which we pruned from the entire text:

Citizen journalism is making a mark in Vancouver once again.

Why is this citizen journalism? Wouldn’t you call PSP92262 just a nearby resident who thinks demolition videos are cool?

Thanks to this evidence, WorkSafeBC has begun interviewing the members of the construction company and has shut down the site pending an investigation.

Like the video of Dziekanski’s Tasering, videos of a demolition gone wrong could hold those accountable for what could’ve been a massacre. A wall falling into the street, a lightpost slamming into the intersection? Sounds like a good reason to have a long talk with Global Excavation and Demolition, a Surrey company responsible for that construction fail.

Would PSP92262 qualify as a citizen journalist, as defined by media critic Jay Rosen? “When the people formerly known as the audience employ the press tools they have in their possession to inform one another…” Sure, since the videographer informed us about something worth investigating.

For those curious, check out the first video below and the second video here (disclaimer: the heavy metal music accompanying the video might hurt your ears).

This instance brings up a question about attribution. The videos’ accuracy seems obvious, but with whom does the credit lie? It took time and effort to put together the videos, and the consequence has been an investigation. For the YouTube users who acted like watchdogs, does anyone get the credit? Does it matter or should it matter?

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06 2010

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