Smartphone video use during political unrest
How does amateur video taken on smartphones during political unrest affect news reporting and perception of events?
There has been a quick rise in the use of smartphones by consumers throughout the world. Smartphones and other mobile phones are equipped with a video recording function, allowing users to take videos anytime, anywhere.
What happens during times of political unrest? Traditionally, news reporters enter risky situations to get the story, often recording riots, protests, and even people dying on the streets from violence, whether it is during war or in response to an injustice. However lately, spectators have acted as reporters, video recording the violent events themselves on their devices.
This brings to light two transitions taking place. The first is the immediate availability and function of media for a user – to be able to whip out a smartphone and record a riot. The second is the ability of a common person to generate news content. There has recently been an increase in user generated content with the rise of social media networks and blogs. The intersection of these two transitions has resulted in spectators at events of unrest recording them on their readily available smartphones and then broadcasting them or supplying them to news outlets for use in broadcasts.
You can look up on YouTube or Google amateur video that was taken during almost any riot in the U.S. that you choose to view. Many people standing by choose to take video of these events because they feel strongly that what is happening – either the event, or the circumstances which led to the event – is unjust, and they want other people to see what is happening.
How do you think that user generated video has affected news reporting and perception of events?
Do you think it brings viewers into the situation in a way they couldn’t have been before, or do you think it is an intrusion of privacy/unethical?
How do you think this would be perceived or responded to in your different cultures (for common citizens to record videos of riots and events and then post them online or submit them to a news station, for instance, to be broadcast)?