broadsideblog

Posts Tagged ‘citizen journalists’

Hey Kids, Write Free! Exposure Will Pay Next Year's Tuition — Dartmouth Now $52,275

In business, education, Media on February 25, 2010 at 9:58 am
WASHINGTON - MAY 06:  Arianna Huffington (C), ...

Pay for content? You're kidding, right? Image by Getty Images via Daylife

The Huffington Post continues its tradition of trading “exposure” for lots of unpaid hard work. Sign up, kids!

The new vertical, HuffPost College, will rely on that sexy, growing and emerging new class of journo’s — “citizens” (aka free labor) — to contribute/donate their time, skills and talent for exposure. Exposure won’t pay Visa or Mastercard or put gas in your car or groceries in your fridge. It’s BS, plain and simple, and it’s sucking in entire legions of the desperate in the race to fill the web with free or low-paid content.

I have been writing for a living, earning four-figure checks for my ideas and skills, since my sophomore year of college, (no, not J-school). It meant, from an early, unconfident, less-experienced position — which is where many of us start out from –learning how to negotiate with editors many decades my senior. Not fun, not easy, not always successfully.

I once overheard an editor pleading with a fellow columnist, whose work filled the same weekly Toronto newspaper section I was writing for as well, to stay — “You’ll lose $200 a week!” she said. I was making $125. Hm. I went into her boss that day and asked for a raise. I was 19. (Didn’t get it, but learned how totally random “value” appears to those who buy your copy.)

Whatever your age, writing is a job, not a hobby!

The endless ugly secret of who gets to write for “free” and wh0 doesn’t boils down to who can afford to do it. Very few students can afford to give away their time  — and those who can continue to form a media elite of the middle-class and up whose parents pick up the costs for them while media mavens pocket profits.

Enough already!

I have written without pay, in 30 years, maybe 10 times, as a pro bono choice to support a cause I believe in or to promote my books. Riley Waggaman, a full-time student at Wheaton College, is a T/S contributor, is getting paid to write here, as are we all.

Just. Say. No.

Neda Agha-Soltan's Death — Captured Anonymously — Wins Journalism's Prestigious Polk Award, A First For 'Citizen Journalists'

In Media on February 22, 2010 at 8:18 pm
Death of Neda Agha-Soltan

Image via Wikipedia

The YouTube image was horrific and idelible — a 26-year-old woman protestor in Tehran shot and dying on the pavement. The video, of Neda Agha-Soltan was transmitted around the world from a doctor’s cameraphone to a video clip sent by e-mail with the message: “Let The World Know.”

The 37-second video became a symbol of Iranian opposition to that country’s disputed June elections.

Last week, the anonymous video won a George Polk Award, given for outstanding achievement in journalism.

Reports The New York Times:

The panel that administers the George Polk Awards, based at Long Island University, said it wanted to acknowledge the role of ordinary citizens in disseminating images and news, especially in times of tumult when professional reporters face restrictions, as they do in Iran. The university said it had never bestowed an award on an anonymous work before.

“It became such an important news element in and of itself,” said John Darnton, the curator of the Polk awards and a former reporter and editor for The New York Times.

The award in a new category, videography, recognizes “the efforts of the people responsible for recording” the death of Ms. Agha-Soltan, who collapsed on the street on June 20, apparently the victim of a sniper.

A chain of people aided in getting the video to the world, illustrating how the Internet erodes many traditional borders. The doctor sent the video clip by e-mail to several acquaintances outside of Iran, hoping they would be able to bypass the country’s Internet filters by uploading it to Web sites like YouTube.

The first person to do so, according to a Web search last June, was the Iranian man in the Netherlands, who requested anonymity to protect friends and family in Iran. The uploader spoke via telephone and e-mail, and provided The New York Times a copy of the doctor’s original e-mail message. That message was sent to five other people, and two of them confirmed that they had also received it.

In a world where so much triva is sent using social media, this is a powerful and compelling reminder of its value.

The larger challenge, going forward, will be handling complex stories and making sense of their larger context. Citizen journalists can, and do, capture raw, immediate data. It leaves the rest of us to make sense of it.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 11,439 other followers