It has become very clear that social media has not only allowed us to be connected, but has also become a useful resource for those keeping up with the latest news. As the events of the Arab Spring has shown, mobile devices combined with social media platforms like Facebook & Twitter have really changed the way we receive and report news as it unfolds. Gone are the days when a day would pass before it showed up in newspaper. Reporting has evolved into the new age of journalism that uses digital platforms.
Journalism 2.0, or for the better word ‘Citizen Journalism’, became more evident on May 28 when a massive fire broke out at the prestigious Villaggio mall in Doha, Qatar. Twitter and few local blogs became the primary outlet for reporting on this, as those on-site began posting photos to show events as they unfolded..Residents of Doha were getting their news in real-time via social media. Even a local online news platform Doha News was taking the lead on citizen journalism by crowdsourcing the Villaggio reports and vetting them as per journalism standards to avoid sharing misinformation. You can see the numerous tweets that have been curated here.
Studies have shown that Twitter has the largest penetration in the region and among specific Arab nations. The impact of citizen journalism on the Villaggio fire had immediately spread to popular outlets like CNN, BBC Breaking News, and Reuters via social media. Powerful smartphones with good camera capabilities have allowed great photos to be snapped and videos to be recorded, combined with native apps that allow people to connect with their social media accounts. The same can be said for the plethora of tablets that still keep users mobile and connected.
Even citizen journalism is being further developed and re-imagined by a new startup from Lebanon. What if you could take sharing aspects of Instagram and combine it with Reddit-style voting to report on stories around the world as it unfolds. That’s what Siggly (formerly known as Signal) is hoping to capitalize on when it launches to the public. Add in geo-location so that you can get the news content based on your location, and users would be getting local stories being reported live. Even Reddit-style voting would play a role in getting stories “upvoted” to grab the users’ attention – doesn’t this remind you of digg.com? The app is currently in private testing and is looking to hit the iPhone in the coming months. We’ll explore more of this in a later post
Citizen journalism is here to stay and will play a major role in this region. Twitter has led the charge in live-reporting events – 140 characters combined with a photo and/or video on a mobile device has come a long way in giving people the tools to share their experience with their community – whether local or worldwide.
P.S: Twitter has also provided a resource page for live-tweeting, which I think is good to checkout this .
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