“Even handcuffed we ARE changing the world w/ seamless technologies”

This is what an arrested Occupy Wall Street protester twitted from the back of a police van on September 24, a week after the movement started.

On that day, 96 others were arrested. Twitter user @PulseofProtest managed to send 22 tweets describing his two-hour long arrest. Along his tweets: “Denied being read our rights”; “activist in tears b/c she just wants to use the bathroom, been in zipties for maybe 2 hours”; “Multiple officers overseeing us: ‘I’d rather just die today, we’re so sorry for you, can’t believe we’re being ordered to do this”.

Is this a legitimate mean of peaceful subversion or a threat to necessary police control? A purest example of citizen journalism or an excess of information that need not to be known by the public?

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The future of journalism

When a new leap in media technology comes forward, many tend to think it will mean the end of all previous media. Radio, cinema, TV – all were going to kill their immediate predecessor. But they ultimately didn’t: each found a niche, an area of expertise, which the others could not fill.

It happened again with the internet. Indeed, it seemed much more revolutionary, with readily on-demand information, its convergence of different types of media and its interactive capabilities. Many believed it would mean an end to the printed word, but we are now luckily realizing that it won’t. But then, what is the role of journalism in a world where every citizen has the means to report directly what they see?

Bill Keller, Executive Editor of The New York Times until last month, talks about old and new media in this interview with our media partner El País.

There is a difference between what Wikipedia and The New York Times say: people go to Wikipedia knowing what they want; but they go to The New York Times, BBC or El País not knowing what they want to know. They come to see what intelligent and well educated people has to tell them about what happened, what matters and what does it mean. Noone has the time to do this by themselves; they pay us for our criteria.
Read more (in Spanish)…

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The rise of citizen journalism

No one doubts by now the impact that citizen journalism is having in the media and the balance of power. Web-streaming videos hit prime-time TV, tweets generate headlines, and pictures taken by anonymous citizens change pieces of history.

In recent days, the grim videos and photos coming out of Libya have been testament to people’s desire to bear witness to cruelty and oppression. Around the world, dictators have learned that even if they kill their people they can not ultimately stop the world from seeing what crimes they commit. Yes, they can use technology to stifle freedom, and they do. But media from average people can make a real difference, too, and it does again and again.
Read more…

But questions arise. Should news organizations reward citizen journalists if they use their work? What is their role in a world full of user-generated content? Can citizens be good journalists? How can rumor be combated in a world full of anonymous reporters?

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