Washington (AFP) – It may be inside a protest rally, or in front of a deadly shooting. Smartphones, video and social media are empowering citizens to tell their stories like never before.
This became clear with the live video earlier this month from Diamond Reynolds when she captured the aftermath of the shooting by a police officer of her boyfriend Philando Castile in Minnesota and streamed it live on Facebook.
The unprecedented live feed was just the latest in a series of events highlighting the power of citizen journalists to bring to light events and viewpoints that would otherwise not be part of mainstream media.
Citizen journalism has been around for centuries, but each technological advance has made it easier to reach more people, said Valerie Belair-Gagnon, who heads the Yale University Information Society Project and is an incoming professor of journalism at the University of Minnesota.
Prominent examples from the past include the 1963 Zapruder film of the Kennedy assassination and the 1991 beating by Los Angeles police of Rodney King and the events of the Arab Spring.
More recently, citizen videos offered immediate and intimate perspectives from Thursday’s truck attack in the southern French city of Nice and the 2015 rampage in Paris, as well as dozens of citizen confrontations with police in the United States.
“In each case, a new technology prompted us to be aware that citizens can contribute journalism in certain ways,” Belair-Gagnon said. Read the rest of this entry »
A citizen journalist from Rebel Pundit filmed the real fight in the street during the Black Friday demonstrations in Chicago. Looks like trouble in paradise when BLM gets push back from grassroots black activists. This is what was reported thanks to brave citizen journalists:
At the outset of the march, grassroots protesters commonly associated with the group Voices of the Ex-Offenders (V.O.T.E.) led the march north on Michigan Avenue and away from Jesse Jackson and his media entourage. The majority of viewers observing the events on television were unaware of how the march began as cameras and reporters remained trained on Jackson.
In doing so, media failed to capture the true tenor of the Black Friday march, including marked disunity among the groups represented that day, professional operatives attempting to stop our filming of the hostility toward Black Lives Matter activists by grassroots activists, and Black Youth Project 100 protesters inciting violence even as they chanted “peace,” as seen in our footage….(read more)