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TEDx-Brussels-2012-bozar-Xavier-Damman
The Global Importance of Social Journalism

I was in the middle of writing a post about the app economy, when for a break I thought I would watch a TED talk that I have been meaning to watch for a few days now. What I saw blew me away because in it, he articulates the way I have felt about the potential for Social Media for the last three years now.

This is Xavier Damman, the co-founder of Storify. I viewed this talk for the first time to today and was compelled to write a short blog post to go with it.

The theme of the talk is social journalism and the fact that Social Media is positioned right in the front line when reporting from the worlds hotspots or when things are happening at an exact time, often before professional journalists can even get there.

Because of the very nature of journalism, journalists are compelled to be impartial and stick to reporting just the facts as they see them. There are two major flaws in this approach;

1.
A journalist parachuting in and just reporting the facts by definition, means that there will be always be an important component missing from that story; empathy . In the talk Xavier uses the example of a Church that was ruined as a result of the a hurricane in America’s mid west. The social journalist on the spot was able to convey what the destruction of that particular church meant to the local community, he had actually been married there. His added layer of context, perfectly illustrated the immensity of the destruction of the church on the local community something that any visiting reporter would fail to convey.

2.
Whether we like it or not the large media outlets are controlled by a relatively small amount of people. These people usually run other large enterprises of which the media outlet is but a part. They are highly likely to have particular political leanings that we often find reflected in their owned media. So a personal story on the ground can quite easily be skewed in such a way to fit in with the editorial leaning of that media outlet. So what was at first, a very personal story becomes inflated and used to make political points that support the bias of that particular reporting media. This has increasingly become the case, with some media outlets  now becoming little more than propaganda mouth pieces for a particular political ideology.

The same point can be made for certain governments around the world.

Three years ago I had an idea to create a platform for Social Journalism, that platform is called Livesuntold.tv.

The concept was again based around the idea of social journalism, allowing ordinary people to tell their own stories that might mean something to others and allow them to find a connection over the Internet.  The fundamental truth of Livesuntold lies in its ability to tell personal stories straight from the horses mouth without varnish or editorial bias. Social Journalism enables that.

Below is an example of one our short films, it tells the personal story of Leonard Berney a veteran of War War II who was one of the first to enter the Belsen Concentration camp on it’s liberation from the Nazi’s in 1945. The story is both horrifying and poignant in that he has very recently been in touch with a former prisoner he himself managed to save.

 

 

Xavier says that the mobile phone is our new weapon against those who try to oppress us or bend the truth for their own ends. With the advances in digital technology, we can now tell our own story.

Livesuntold.tv