THE occupy movement is proving a fascinating example for citizen journalism.
Today, this video really grabbed my attention. Not only because it is an example of police brutality on a peaceful protest, or the fact that their peaceful reaction finally diffuses the situation, – I found the ending incredibly moving – but because of the number of people newsgathering at the scene.
Look at the crowd. From mobile phones, to iPads to traditional cameras, there are dozens of people recording these events from different viewpoints. It is becoming increasingly difficult for authorities to deny or misrepresent events. And this has huge significance for how they conduct themselves.
You only have to consider the unlawful killing of Ian Tomlinson – and the fact a citizen handed it to The Guardian – to bring it to public attention to see the positive effects of citizen and traditional media working together.
However, in Citizen Journalism: Global Perspectives Einar and Stuart also explore not only the benefits but the potential risks facing some news organisations who have allowed citizen content to appear unvetted.
For me, a professional journalists job is to check, steer and give context to citizen or user-generated context. To allow it to appear without context, reduces its value for the audience.
It should not be the key news gathering resource. And that fundamentally changes the system of news production, as this table by the Media Center at the American Press Institute demonstrates.
If you want to keep up with a range of videos from the worldwide Occupy movement – which is not getting the attention it deserves from the mainstream media, subscribe to OperationLeakS YouTube site.
It would be great if traditional media were giving more attention to some of the fantastic content up there. But reporting of the Occupy Movement from a protester point of view in the mainstream media is increasingly sparse.