Archive for the ‘Social Media’Category

Non-profits and Citizen Journalism

Social media site Mashable has a post about the rise of citizen journalism and the non-profits who are playing midwife. This is not only in funding outfits. Organizations like Small World News go out and train citizen journalists in oppressed regions like Lybia to help them get critical information out to the public.

Read more here.

How Non-Profit Organizations Are Bolstering Citizen Media Around the World (Mashable)

 

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16

06 2011

Twitter hampering criminal investigations UK police warn

Messages on social networking sites are increasingly hampering major police investigations, a senior detective has warned.

The comment came from Detective Chief Inspector Jes Fry from Norfolk Police after Michael Tucker, 50, was jailed for 26 years at Norwich Crown Court for murdering his partner Rebecca Thorpe, 28, and hiding her body in a freezer.

Read the full story on British journalism trade journal Press Gazette.

 

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30

05 2011

Youth reporters cover story mainstream misses

Immigration is a hot button issue, especially in  Chicago where 26% of the population is Hispanic, and 21% were born outside the U.S. Even if legislators aren’t taking any action, questions about immgration resonate with the public.

On March 20th, young, undocumented, students from all over the Chicago area emerged from the gray area where undocumented individuals exist in the U.S., to speak out in public.  Immigrant Youth Justice League (IYJL)  a “Chicago-based organization led by undocumented youth, working for immigrant rights through education, resource-gathering, and youth mobilization,” sponsored a rally called  “Coming Out of the Shadows.”

The video produced by citizen reporters, as well as stories and audio on the IYJL website, are the only detailed coverage of this unresolved but critical issue in local media. The mainstream media failed to cover the event with more than a mention, perhaps because there was no action pending in the legislature. Chicago is a sanctuary city, and as such, is at odds with federal authorities on questions of how to pursue undocumented individuals.

For citizen journalists the question is, isn’t there an audience who is interested in this story? The youth video and stories on the IYJL site demonstrate the importance of citizen media as a method of expression for young people today.

I see a  “wet blanket” effect on news coverage in the U.S. exerted by the large Baby Boom generation. There are so many boomers and they control a large share of wealth, and thus corporate media and mainstream media that still rely on advertising, pushes coverage of stories from the point of view of folks who are 50 +years old and reflects the world from the boomers’ point of view.

Younger people whose social connections  via MySpace, Orkut, and now Facebook, have led them to  political ideas and ideas about how society should be democratically organized are speaking out. Citizen journalists in Chicago and across the U.S. provide a way for  the faces of the young and their voices and ideas to reach the public, even if mainstream media misses the story.

YouTube Preview Image

 

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08

04 2011

Citizen Journalists ask New Mayor, New Methods or Not

screenshot of tweet

From Mayor Emanuel's Chicago 2011 Tweet Stream

Citizen journalists in Chicago should be skeptical but encouraged, that newly elected Mayor Rahm Emanuel is tweeting out invitations to get involved in “[E]ffective, open and accountable government.” Everyone from citizen journalists to the mainstream media will be watching to see if open, transparent interactions with the public will continue through the transition time and into his time as mayor. The site, called Chicago 2011 is functional rather than fancy, and it says:

“City government is a large and complicated set of interlocking agencies and offices, and it can be a challenge to increase public participation and motivate civic engagement. Taxpayers deserve access to their government so that they can take part in the democratic process and hold public servants accountable. How and would you make City government more open and accountable? What parts of our government could benefit the most from public involvement?”

via Effective, open and accountable government – Chicago 2011 – Mayor-Elect Rahm Emanuel.

Minicipal government in Chicago, Ill isn’t known for being open to any outsiders, from mainstream media, to citizens or citizen journalists. In fact, the when the BBC was doing a series about “extremes,” they reached out to local reporter Steve Edwards for a story about Chicago and Illinois, called  “Oiling the Machine – Uncovering Corruption in Chicago, an audio exploration of extreme government corruption.

How bad is it? Since 1971, 1,000 Illinois public servants have been convicted of corruption, and in Chicago, 30 aldermen have gone to jail according to Dick Simpson, a former Chicago alderman who is now teaches political science department at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

In February, Chicago voters, or the 41% who turned out to vote, elected Rahm Emanuel as the next mayor. He will replace Mayor Richard M. Daley, who has been in office since 1989 Richard J. Daley, father of Richard M. also served as mayor of Chicago (1954-1976) but that is a story for another day. Emanuel’s inauguration is scheduled for May. His early actions indicate he may open up what has been the black box of information about city finances, hiring, zoning, and other matters.

Through tweets about the Chicago 2011 site, the public is being urged to go to the site and leave public comments, and get involved, during his transition time. The tweets about the site remind people they can ask questions, discuss issues, make suggestions, leave a resume, and generally keep up with the plans for Chicago under Mayor Emanuel.

As the site develops, we’ll return to it, and also track comments from Chicago’s bloggers and hyperlocal citizen media about whether it is really a break from the past in terms of transparency, or simply window dressing to cover up for “business as usual.”

 

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24

03 2011

Social media primary tool for young journalists

In a recent IREX report, journalist Namo Abdulla recounts that one of the most important resources a journalist can use is social media.This is important in parts of the world where censorship and cultural norms limit the public’s ability to write, release and read information.

Now that people are riding the tidal wave of Egyptian-style protests, social media is particularly important.

Students at universities in the Middle East are demanding more education in the area of social media, which lends itself to making all students citizen journalists…especially those studying journalism.

Abdulla writes: “Kurdish newspapers and magazines have a tendency to self-censor for cultural and political reasons. Now Facebook and blogs are the publisher of photos, poems and other items that would not be published in the traditional media.”

Read the full report here.

 

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28

02 2011

No Internet, no news?

The riots in in Egypt have led to the government shutting down all Internet systems, and blocking sites such as Twitter and Facebook. So what of the citizen journalists? Well, they are finding a way. Despite SMS disruptions, thousands of people have been sending photos of the dead bodies, messages that scream: “Yes, this is a bloody war.” Many tourists on vacation in Cairo, and bloggers from around the world are stepping into the battle zone and proclaiming that they will get information out, regardless of the bullets being shot at them.

Here are links to some of the (VERY GRAPHIC) images that Egyptian citizens journalists are sending out: http://yfrog.com/h2k7satj http://yfrog.com/h71e4mmj http://yfrog.com/h3b3uyoj

Gregg Carlstrom (@glcarlstrom) is a blogger in Egypt and he recently tweeted: “This is how you know the Egyptian government is worried: it just shut off tourist access to the Pyramids. #Egypt

To make matters even more difficult for citizen journalists of the world, the word “Egypt” is now blocked in China. Nobody can search Egypt, or read about the riots. Perhaps this is the the Chinese government saying, “Don’t get any ideas, folks.” And still, the Chinese are attempting to use various microblogging systems to see more.

No, despite Internet interruptions, news is getting out, and it is making the Egyptian rulers look like foolish beasts.

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From Joke to Success

“I think that change and progress begin when people stop standing aloof and start to participate. I hope we make change and progress in 2012 through civic participation.”

As soon as Guk Cho, professor at Seoul National University Law School, ended his speech, the audience burst into thunderous applause. It was a flare that signaled the opening of the Guk Cho • Yeon-ho Oh Book Concert.

On December 27, 2010, year-end concerts were everywhere in Korea. The book concert held in EWHA University’s 100th Memorial Hall had a special meaning in the flood of year-end concerts because it was based on civic participation. The audience did not come to see celebrity performances but to express their views and talk about the future of Korea.

The Guk Cho • Yeon-ho Oh Book Concert began as a joke. Yeon-ho Oh, founder and CEO of Ohmynews, mentioned in passing in a tweet that he would hold a small book concert in a pub if his book Plan for Liberals to Seize Power published three impressions. His words would not have been taken seriously if he had announced it to a small number of people. However, because his words spread to thousands of people on Twitter, and because people really wanted the concert to happen, his joke became a promise to keep. Eventually Plan for Liberals to Seize Power published three impressions, and citizens made the joke a reality.

Citizens did more than just instigating the creation of the concert. Thirty citizens who were active in promoting Plan for Liberals to Seize Power started an arrangement committee. The arrangement committee organized the book concert with civic participation-based programs. At the concert rehearsal, held in a pub near Gwanghwamun, the committee worked smoothly, as the members had known each other for a long time. When one member suggested that they sing the song “As Time Goes By” with choreography in the closing ceremony, several other members choreographed on the spot. Aside from the arrangement committee, other citizens played a huge role. Because of the promotion by the citizens in social media sites, all 430 seats sold out in three days.

At the concert, the effort of the arrangement committee and other citizens paid back. The programs organized with ideas by citizens made people laugh. The highlight of the concert was a program called “If I Were Yeon-ho Oh I Would Ask Guk Cho This,” in which Professor Cho answered questions that the audience wrote down before entering the concert hall. Questions such as “What’s your beauty secret?” made people burst into laughter, and other ones such as “What would you first do if you become president of Korea?” made people listen carefully.

The concert was made possible by citizens using social media, which successfully brought together those from different regions. Social media is designed to be disseminated through social interaction, using highly accessible and scalable publishing techniques. Social media made other seemingly impossible events besides the Guk Cho • Yeon-ho Oh Book Concert happen. Thinking of Samsung by attorney Yong-Chul Kim became a best seller without any advertising in newspapers or television because one hundred fifty thousand people on Twitter promoted the book.

At the end of the 2-hour concert, Mr. Oh made a remark.

“We started the concert with the help of citizens. So I think that this concert should end by a closing ceremony of citizens.”

As Yeon-ho Oh finished, 30 members of the arrangement committee appeared on stage, ending the concert by singing “As Time Goes By” with choreography and guitar accompaniment. Their choreography was not perfect, but their message was clear.

“Don’t be small-minded, be confident. The sun will rise tomorrow. The sun will rise tomorrow.”

In the last chapter of Plan for Liberals to Seize Power, which has sold twenty three thousand copies in 2 months and has become a best seller in the politics section, Professor Cho and Mr. Oh promised to write a sequel with the help of citizens. This writer is looking forward to seeing what incredible work citizens will do in the next book and hopes that the sun will rise in the future through the power of citizens.

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22

01 2011

News that masquerades as citizen journalism

With citizen journalism reigning as one of the primary sources of information, more and more news organizations are reporting information and portraying it as “rough cut.” More and more, they are including citizen videos and photos from onlookers. Many news channels incorporate Twitter segments and Facebook feeds into their live broadcasts.

Now, perhaps they are running short on funds and need to use the citizen news (highly unlikely for CNN and Fox, but who knows?). Perhaps big news companies really do think that the rough footage they are getting is more sincere than other footage. We have certainly seen examples of this dating back to the Vietnam war, when journalists were first embedded with the troops; since then, news corps have used shaky cam footage to get viewers.

However, at this point in time, I would argue that news organizations are using citizen journalists’ footage and information in order to get in on a trend. These companies find social media (including the Twitter, Facebook and blogs of the world) and citizen news style to be a trend that they can make bank cashing in on. In the past, these big news conglomerates thought citizen journalism was encroaching on their territory, but now the tables have turned. Real news needs to stop masquerading as citizen journalism.

Most recently, companies such as the UK Guardian have used a blog style to make their updates from the G20 Summit seem more current. They even have a notice on their page that reads: “This page will update every minute.”

There are enough bloggers out there in the world and the real journalists, as in the journalistic self-proclaimed news corporations, should stick to article writing, not blogging.

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But You Still Must Use It

Now that we’ve driven you away from using Twitter, Mark Briggs of Journalism 2.0 was on an ONA Seattle panel discussion about balancing social media with traditional journalism. His conclusion was that journalists should still jump onto the social media tweetwagon while “bringing the values from old media to new.”

Watch the panel discussion here.

You are what you tweet: Balancing journalism with social media (Journalism 2.0)

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03

10 2010

NPR: Facebook better than Twitter

National Public Radio conducted a study of its own Twitter users. It found that its Twitter audience mostly got their news online and prefer hard, breaking news. Yet NPR’s Twitter followers didn’t click on links as much as its Facebook fans, and Twitter only delivered less than one fifth of the traffic to the NPR site than Facebook.

Chew on that a bit.

Lessons from NPR’s Twitter study (Reportr.net)

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03

10 2010