Friday, August 28, 2009
Alternative media in The Guardian
VisionOntv at Climate camp has been featured in The Guardian today on page 19 or read here
Climate campers get a lesson in citizen journalism
Mobile phones, laptops, digital cameras and camcorders were laid out on bails of hay – a display of weaponry at the heart of the UK's increasingly technological protest movement.
Huddled beside the equipment on a a patch of grass today, legs crossed and notebooks open, were the environmental activists who had arrived for a lesson in "citizen journalism". This was the first and, some said, most important workshop in a week-long programme at the Climate Camp demonstration, a sustainable campsite constructed in Blackheath, south-east London.
The lesson in how to "shoot, edit and distribute" a 60-second report using a mobile phone in less than 10 minutes is considered as important as learning how to invade airport runways or throw sludge at politicians.
But the course teachers, Hamish Campbell and Richard Hering, who have been making political activist films since the mid-1990s, were circumspect about what amateurs can achieve.
For a bystander with a mobile and a nose for a story, practicalities and speed are paramount.
"If police are doing something really stupid and you think they're going to smash your camera, quickly upload the clip remotely on to the internet," said Campbell. "They can confiscate or break your mobile but the film is out there."
Their curriculum included instructions on making audio-slideshows using other people's pictures and, for the more ambitious, a simple explanation of how to turn 15 minutes of raw footage into a three-minute news report. "What will make the difference between you and old media, or dying media," said Hering, "is that they have lighting for indoor shots. So do your interviews outside."
The importance of amateur reporting became apparent at the G20 protests in April, when dozens of cases of alleged police brutality were captured on mobile phones and cameras by protesters and bystanders in the crowd.
Citizen journalists came to prominence again in Iran in June, when protesters took to the streets to complain about alleged fraud in the re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad,.
For Campbell and Hering, who post footage via their own site, visionOntv, amateur journalism will become more effective once reportage is refined.
With activists unhappy with sites such as Twitter, YouTube and Facebook, which they complain are censorious "corporates", much citizen-generated content at protests is posted on Indymedia, an online forum. A founder of the site, who asked not to be named, said: "The mainstream media has realised the value of reports from people who are participating in an event. It's the power of crowd-sourced information."
Somthing must be changing when even the Daily Mail writes something close the actual truth of Climate Camp..read here