Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Getting Media Attention. Citizen Journalists.

Take a quick look at the photo below. It's an IPhone 3GS. So what i hear you ask. Well, if I wasn't a professional cameraman, working for the broadcasters, This piece of kit is all i would need to get multimedia stories out to the world. Video, Audio, Photo and text.

Modern communications .... Simple.
And a great many people are doing just that. Citizen Journalists. They are becoming more and more prevalent with the rise of online blogs, websites dedicated to niche subjects that the author cares deeply about. With the ease of modern tech advances, very little know how is needed to make your own journalistic efforts available to the whole world. With the rise of cheap, good quality cameras and mobile devices like the one above, anyone with a little journalistic ability and online know how can become a citizen journalist.

Major news broadcasters have not been slow in taking advantage of this. You only have to look at any major incident to know that ordinary people can and will film and record what is going on in front of them. 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 news rooms open. But the rise of citizen journalism doesn't restrict itself to major incidents.

You may not agree with what is being done to save the planet, or you disagree strongly with your governments political standpoint. So you blog, film and record your personal point of view and post it to the online world. Freedom of speech and democracy in action. We in the west, including us in the UK, take these freedoms for granted, but there are many people out there with no such freedoms. The only way to tell their story is to be a citizen journalist and to do it themselves. Mainly because their government has shut down, or is intimidating the local and national press.

In Iran a few years back, the national elections proved to be a story of international significance, thanks in no small part to citizen journalism. Once Iranian 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 Iran came from mobile phone footage which was broadcast around the world, much to the annoyance of the Iranian government who tried, in vain, to cut off broadband links to the outside world.

Terrorist atrocities, natural disasters and underhand governments or corporate bodies can now all be relatively easily exposed by citizen journalists if they choose to do so. With the help of a small handheld device and a broadband link, stories can now be transmitted around the world with the push of a small button ... SEND.