Category Archives: Activism

Capturing the Moment (and More) via Cellphone Video

Cell phones, the internet, blogs and web streaming technology have created an almost seamless interaction between any event you witness and the world wide web. 

Source, September 13, 2008: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/14/technology/14novel.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

 

    STILL keeping in touch with friends by texting? [Still waiting until you get home to upload those videos of human rights violations and political faux pas?] How old-fashioned. Some early adopters of technology are now using their mobile phones to send not typed words or photographs, but live video broadcasts. They’re streaming scenes from their daily lives — like trips to the mall, weddings, a new puppy’s antics or even a breaking news story that they happen upon. 

 

    ——- 

 

    “You can record whatever’s happening around you and send it back to wherever you’ve embedded your channel,” Ms. Thompson said. “You don’t have to set up a camera — it’s really instant.” 

 

    Viewers can respond immediately to videos, typing messages on their keyboards, for instance, and sending them along to a live session. The typed chat appears instantly at the bottom of viewers’ screens. 

 

    The relatively simple technology, which requires no television cameras or satellite links, has much potential, Ms. Thompson said, although the quality will vary when users stream live video, depending on the available bandwidth from the provider. 

 

 

Much is at stake in journalist-shield bill by Gene Policinski

Original, August 21, 2008 Statesman Journal

At present, there’s no guaranteed protection in federal courtrooms for journalists who accept confidential information from such sources. Federal prosecutors and judges have shown an increased willingness to pursue whistleblowers’ identities, particularly in cases involving terrorism or claims of national security.

Such high-profile cases dominate headlines. But we also should be concerned about the potential to encourage or chill those who come forward on less-than-national-survival matters — issues such as drinking water or food safety, public-health statistics, fraud or abuse in road-building or errant law enforcement policies or practices, to name but a few.

The Senate proposal — like most compromises — offers something for many and likely completely satisfies none. The legislation does not shield spies, terrorists, crooks or eyewitnesses to criminal acts. Nor does the protection from subpoena apply in cases where officials can show there is imminent danger of death, kidnapping or serious injury.

All of Us, the Arbiters of News by David Carr

Original, August 11, 2008 New York Times

Arbiter
1.    a person empowered to decide matters at issue; judge; umpire.
2.    a person who has the sole or absolute power of judging or determining.

This is an oped about how human nature and the Network Age are forcing the corporate media to bend to our will, and our demand for choice in news, information and content. The web and related networking technologies, as this article points out, can be a powerful positive influence on their news gathering and dissemination; trying to interfere with it may be their downfall. 

 

 

Emerging technologies that threaten to destroy the current paradigm can have precisely the opposite effect. Remember when VCRs and then DVDs were going to lay waste to the movie industry and ended up saving it instead? The Web leaks of entertainment that NBC bought and paid for served as a kind of trailer for the real thing.

There is a lesson there for rest of the media, most specifically The Philadelphia Inquirer, where the managing editor, Michael Leary, issued a memo last week suggesting that all of the paper’s good stuff — “signature investigative reporting, enterprise, trend stories, news features and reviews” — would not appear online until they first appear in print.

“For our bloggers, especially, this may require a bit of an adjustment,” Mr. Leary informed the staff. “Some of you like to try out ideas that end up as subjects of stories or columns in print first. If in doubt, consult your editor.”

Even to the eye of this reporter — to use a hack newspaper term — The Inquirer seems to be making a mistake. If the future of our business is online, then why set up a firewall, delaying the best content to protect a legacy product? And more adept reporters are beginning to realize that the Web is not just a way to broadcast news, it is a great way to assemble it as well.

Should ABC News Reveal Anonymous Sources in Anthrax Probe? Bloggers Say Yes by Kim Pearson

Original, August 5, 2008 http://www.poynter.org/column.asp?id=31&aid=148199

UPDATE: After this story was originally published, Brian Ross (the lead ABC News reporter on the 2001 anthrax stories) offered comment via TVNewser — primarily to defend his original reporting and to contend that he was not duped by his sources. Meanwhile, CJR’s Justin Peters amplified the call for transparency from news organizations.

News organizations are accustomed to fending off demands from judges and law enforcement agencies that they reveal their confidential sources. But what happens when this demand comes from news-savvy bloggers? Currently, ABC News is facing this quandary. This blog “meme” was sparked by two noted journalism professors: Jay Rosen and Dan Gillmor, in response to Salon columnistGlenn Greenwald’s criticisms (Aug 1 and Aug 3) of ABC News’ coverage of the 2001 anthrax scare.

Refusing to be silenced, speech by Dave Zirin

On July 24, about 100 people gathered in Baltimore for a forum to stand up against a long-term spying operation conducted by the Maryland State Police against anti-death penalty and antiwar activists.

The surveillance and infiltration of the groups took place while Republican Robert Ehrlich was governor, according to 43 pages of state police reports recently released to the ACLU. The spying continued month after month despite the fact that the state’s agents never recorded a single illegal act among the groups’ protest activities. This week, the current governor, Martin O’Malley, appointed a panel to review the state police surveillance operation against the anti-death penalty and antiwar movements.

Dave Zirin, a sportswriter and activist, was one of the activists named in the spying reports. At the July 24 meeting, he talked about his reactions to the spy scandal and activists’ plans for “going on offense.”