On Wed, 2010-02-24 at 13:35 -0500, vvandew1(a)ithaca.edu wrote:
Hi Brian !
I'm a sophomore Journalism major at Ithaca College and for my
Journalism Ethics class I am writing a paper about the ethical
dilemmas with citizen journalism. I am focusing my paper on the
posting of photographs from citizens verses what mainstream media
posts as their photographs. My main example is the picture that Tearah
Moore posted from inside Fort Hood during the shooting. I was hoping
to get a quote from you concerning this because I know you have become
very successful as a citizen journalist.
As I am in Scotland, I knew of the Fort Hood shooting; but, had to
Google the name "Tearah Moore" for further background on your reference.
The link I ended up reading was:
As laid out therein, both Moore and Hasan were in a position of quite,
quite 'diminished responsibility'; the politely named
unit-cum-medical-facility they were at was for people suffering from
post-traumatic stress syndrome.
This situation is a real dilemma; as a 'social' or 'professional' media
organisation, does accuracy come before speed - or vice versa? In
reality, what needs to change is the approach of the audience. If they
flit like butterflies from one drama to the next, they learn nothing.
And, don't follow up with the talking head opinion pages.
In the "fog-of-war" situation there, I would have questioned use of
Moore's photos, duplicating her captioning, and whole approach to the
situation. How many news services didn't join the dots, find out where
the trouble was, and check if both she and Hasan were in-treatment?
Could Moore be trusted to understand what obligations she'd agreed to in
entering the services she was breaking?
I would suspect a dirty scramble to get a source, and damn the
consequences to the source. This is quite different from the citizen
journalism I engage in. Yes, I've used "shock" pictures, and taken from
Take this,  Wikinews' initial report of the Haitian Earthquake. I
knew it was big at 7.0, I knew the area was ill-prepared, I picked the
pictures for the followup . There are just times when the view from
on the ground trumps anything else .
My main questions are:
1) Because of the immediacy that the internet has introduced, citizen
journalists are able to post graphic images or whatever images they
please. Do you think this is a bad thing? Why or why not?
As I said in response to your introduction - I've used graphic images.
However, the situation with Moore was one where you might question the
accuracy of non-photographic evidence.
I watched the "Balloon Boy" incident with bemused detachment - it seemed
so unlikely that ridiculous homemade silver contraption has any
passenger, child or otherwise. Both conventional and 'citizen' media
failed to get their respective asses in gear and ask a physicist.
2) Do you think that citizen journalists should have
to abide by some
moral code when deciding whether to post a picture or not. Explain.
In the public interest.
And, for a curt explanation; "Context is everything". Professional, or
would-be, you have to accurately attribute the origin of a photo. Where
there is an element of "trust me" to obfuscate the sourcing, you should
have looked into the reliability of the source.
Brian McNeil <email@example.com>|http://en.wikinews.org/wiki/Brian_McNeil
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