ATTRACTING MEDIA ATTENTION - CITIZEN JOURNALISTS

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I’M SORRY ... WHO ?


CITIZEN JOURNALISTS. THESE GUYS ARE BECOMING MORE AND MORE PREVALENT WITH THE RISE OF ONLINE VIDEO BLOGS, AND THE EASE AT WHICH THEY CAN BROADCAST WHAT THEY HAVE SEEN OR FILMED.


WITH THE RISE OF CHEAP, AFFORDABLE CAMERAS AND VIDEO CAMCORDERS, PRACTICALLY ANYONE WHO KNOWS HOW TO USE ONE AND POST IT ON A BLOG, OR SEND IT TO THE PRESS, CAN BECOME A CITIZEN JOURNALIST.


FEW AND FAR BETWEEN THOUGH ... RIGHT ?


NOT SO. FAR FROM IT. YOU ONLY HAVE TO LOOK AT ANY MAJOR INCIDENT TO KNOW THAT WHEN IT COMES TO ORDINARY MEN AND WOMEN FILMING WHAT IS FRONT OF THEIR EYES, THEN THEY WILL DO SO.


NEARLY EVERYONE NOW OWNS A MOBILE PHONE WITH VIDEO OR PHOTO CAPABILITIES. AND WHEN A MAJOR INCIDENT OCCURS, THE FLOODGATES TO THE LOCAL, NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL NEWSROOMS OPEN. AND MAJOR BROADCASTERS ARE NOW TAKING FULL ADVANTAGE OF THIS.


TAKE ANY MAJOR PROTEST SUCH AS THE G8, G12, G20 OR ANY MAJOR POLITICAL EVENT. THE STREETS WILL BE FLOODED WITH POLICE, PROTESTERS, JOURNALISTS, CAMERAMEN AND OTHERS. AMONG THE OTHERS WILL BE A GREAT MANY CITIZEN JOURNALISTS. AND YOU CAN SPLIT THESE INTO GROUPS :


PROTESTERS.

PRESSURE GROUPS.

AMATEUR PHOTOGRAPHERS / CAMERAMEN.


THERE ARE THOSE THAT FILM FOR THEIR OWN GRATIFICATION, THE ‘I WAS THERE’ LOT. THERE WILL BE A GREAT MANY PRESSURE GROUPS WITHIN THE PROTEST GROUPS FILMING FOR THEIR OWN AGENDA, WITH THEIR OWN TAKE ON THE PROTEST. AND FINALLY THERE WILL BE PHOTOGRAPHERS AND CAMERA OPERATORS WORKING ALONE IN THE HOPE THAT THEY CAN SELL A PICTURE OR SEQUENCE TO FURTHER THEIR CAREER.


WATCH THE NEWS NEXT TIME ONE OF THE MAJOR POLITICAL MEETINGS OCCUR, AND YOU WILL SEE MANY PEOPLE WITH MANY CAMERAS.


CITIZEN JOURNALISTS ... TROUBLEMAKERS.


THIS REALLY DEPENDS ON YOUR PERSONAL VIEW AND POLITICAL STANDPOINT. YOU MAY THINK THAT NOT ENOUGH IS BEING DONE TO SAVE THE PLANET AND YOU DISAGREE STRONGLY WITH CURRENT POLITICAL STRATEGY. SO YOU BLOG, WRITE AND FILM YOUR POINT OF VIEW. FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND DEMOCRACY IN ACTION.


WE IN THE WEST TAKE THIS FREEDOM FOR GRANTED, BUT THERE ARE MANY PEOPLE OUT THERE WITH NO SUCH FREEDOMS. THE ONLY WAY TO TELL THEIR STORY IS TO BE CITIZEN JOURNALISTS AND TO DO IT THEMSELVES. MAINLY BECAUSE THEIR GOVERNMENT HAS SHUT DOWN OR IS INTIMIDATING THE NATIONAL PRESS.


ALL OVER THE WORLD, MAJOR STORIES HAVE BEEN TOLD A GREAT DEAL BETTER THANKS TO CITIZEN JOURNALISTS, OR JUST THOSE THAT HAPPEN TO FILM WHAT WAS GOING ON IN FRONT OF THEM.


THEY JUST HAVE AN AXE TO GRIND ...


EXAMPLE ONE


The July 2005 bombings in London were the first real example of this. Passengers on the underground took both video and stills on the mobile phones, and sent them to the BBC. Several minutes before the police had worked out what was going on, the BBC were already receiving the evidence, ready to transmit.


EXAMPLE TWO


When the Buncefield oil depot at Hemel Hempstead caught fire a few months later, the BBC was offered 20,000 images in the first four hours. Individuals with cameras went much closer to the fire than BBC camera crews were prepared to risk. They went inside the security cordon, then offered us the images for sale. Should we buy them?


EXAMPLE THREE


Think back to the terrorist attack on Glasgow Airport at the start of the year. A man drove his car into the departures building. He then sat in the car, his body covered in flames. And all around him passengers got out their phones and pressed the record button. Then they emailed the pictures to news organisations. Broadcasters and newspapers had them in seconds.


EXAMPLE FOUR


Now think of the Greyrigg train crash in Cumbria last year. A Virgin train came off the tracks and rolled down an embankment. A BBC executive happened to be on board. So she got out her camera and took pictures from inside the wreckage. The moment she got out, she pressed the send button. The BBC had the images even before the emergency services got there.


TERRORIST ATROCITIES, NATURAL DISASTERS AND UNDERHAND GOVERNMENTS CAN ALL BE EXPOSED BY CITIZEN JOURNALISTS. MOST OF US CARRY A CAMERA NOW IN ONE FORM OR ANOTHER. WE COULD ALL BE CITIZEN JOURNALISTS IF WE CHOOSE TO DO SO.


IN IRAN RECENTLY, THE NATIONAL ELECTIONS PROVED TO BE AN INTERNATIONAL STORY THANKS IN NO SMALL PART TO CITIZEN JOURNALISM. ONCE PUBLIC ANGER BEGAN TO RISE THE INTERNATIONAL PRESS WERE, IN EFFECT, BANNED FROM THE STREETS. THE ONLY REAL COVERAGE OF WHAT WAS HAPPENING ON THE STREETS OF TEHRAN CAME FROM MOBILE PHONE FOOTAGE WHICH WAS AIRED AROUND THE WORLD. MUCH TO THE ANNOYANCE OF THE IRANIAN GOVERNMENT, WHO TRIED IN VAIN TO STOP AND CUT OFF THE BROADBAND LINKS TO THE OUTSIDE WORLD.  


BUT I HAVE NOTHING TO HIDE ...


MAYBE NOT. BUT ALL IT TAKES TODAY IS FOR ONE PERSON OR A GROUP OF PEOPLE TO HAVE SOME GRIPE AGAINST YOU OR YOUR COMPANY, AND THINGS CAN GET QUICKLY OUT OF HAND. CUSTOMER COMPLAINTS AND WHISTLEBLOWERS INSTANTLY SPRING TO MIND WHEN IT COMES TO HOW A CITIZEN JOURNALIST CAN EFFECT YOU AND YOUR COMPANY STANDING. AND NOT ONLY THAT, IT CAN BE ON THE AIRWAVES OR ON THE INTERNET BEFORE YOU KNOW WHAT IS GOING ON.


AND IF THEY HAPPEN TO MAKE THAT COMPLAINT IN A FUNNY MANNER THEN THAT VIDEO CAN INSTANTLY BECOME VIRAL, SPREADING THEIR MESSAGE AROUND THE GLOBE.


WATCH THE CITIZEN JOURNALISM VIDEO HERE.

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