Citizen Journalism

Guatemala and Citizen Media Jon Wed, 05/13/2009 - 10:35

You might have heard about the posthumously released video by a Guatemalan lawyer accusing his president of assassination in the event of his death, for not participating in a money-laundering scheme. If not, read about the video on boingboing.

It's ignited a full-blown protest against corruption in a country known for not being kind to activism. There are live protests ongoing and rumored additional strikes and protests against the government and its narco-trafficking connections, and a very active online media component (local TV stations are avoiding the events like the plague, but online outlet Libertopolis is broadcasting the protests, and there is a twitter hashtag (#escandaloGT). Read more on different citizen media and follow updates at boingboing's coverage of the scandal, and CNN's slanted coverage: "Guatemala rejects allegations of role in lawyer's death," which follows Guatemala's own media's tactic of not speaking about the mass protests:

In Defense of Twitter and #swineflu

XKCD on the Swine Flu on Twitter

Everyone from XKCD to NPR has been blaming Twitter for spreading panic about the Swine Flu:

Who knew that swine flu could also infect Twitter? Yet this is what appears to have happened in the last 24 hours, with thousands of Twitter users turning to their favorite service to query each other about this nascent and potentially lethal threat [...] And despite all the recent Twitter-enthusiasm about this platform's unique power to alert millions of people in decentralized and previously unavailable ways, there are quite a few reasons to be concerned about Twitter's role in facilitating an unnecessary global panic about swine flu.

I mean, status updates like these are certainly cause for alarm:

Swine Flu Crisis: Secretary Napolitano Lacks Credibility
Fort Worth Closes Its Schools as Swine Flu Spreads in US
Swine Flu at Church: Fear Not?
PANDEMIC POTENTIAL
Delaware swine flu outbreak gives Hofstra softball title
US Flu deaths expected
Face masks aren't a sure bet against swine flu
California Marine has swine flu; 30 quarantined
Swine flu takes health community by surprise
Swine Flu is a Democrat(ic) scourge
Everett doctor may have swine flu
Pa. university has swine flu scare
Swine flu may be cause of CSULB student illness
1st swine flu death reported in US, Ohio child recovering

Oh, I'm sorry - I got news headlines mixed up with Twitter. Yes, those are all print news headlines from the past few days.

Cory Doctorow, or how I learned to start worrying and hate IP regulation Jon Sun, 03/15/2009 - 13:01

Sometimes, I lie awake at night and worry about copyright. I then start worrying if this makes me irreconcilably weird.

I worry both for our American culture, as items have stopped falling into the public domain and becoming available to re-use and re-mix, or simply to re-present for free. If this doesn't seem like a problem, this video on a 6-second drumbeat will blow your mind - especially if you then read this story about an artist being sued for a 1 minute clip of silence making fun of John Cage's 4'33" of silence. The artist ended up settling out of court.

I worry more generally about international trade and development, as we inflict ever-tighter IP regulations on countries we give aid to or trade with - regulations which we scoffed and flouted during our own development.

We're no longer protecting innovation with these laws - we're protecting the first movers (often big, established businesses), and encouraging gaming the patent system to try and get the most generic and sweeping patent accepted.

What's happening in Mumbai: Twitter and Real-time Citizen Media

Initial reports are now showing up on news sites; this very light-on-details article on BBC seems to be the first up on major news sites - but it's been burning up the SMS and immediate-update "microblog" site, Twitter, for over an hour.

We're seeing a human tragedy and the slow emergence of an amazingly powerful social tool - real time citizen reporting. People are sending in reports, pictures, and videos of on-the-ground events as they unfold, scooping all major news sources - because what traditional media outlet could possibly keep up with a reaction time measured merely by the speed of information?

Old media has a never-ending struggle to maintain its relevance - this is going to be big. Where were you when "CNN Headline News" became outdated?

Update Speaking of CNN being outdated; Global Voices now has an article on Mumbai up, based largely on Twitter sources