Riding the Citizen Journalist Wave at the Dublin Web Summit

by Karen McLaughlin

One of the essential truths of citizen journalism is that “authenticity has replaced authority” in terms of what consumers of news – and therefore media companies – value about news coverage.  That’s what Gigaom’s Mathew Ingram is reporting from last week’s Dublin Web Summit: “…it means that many people (not all, of course, but many) are willing to pay more attention to sources of information that they believe are close to an event, rather than to traditional sources of sober, objective second-hand or third-hand information.” [more here…]

Ingram goes on to discuss the increasing importance of real-time “flow” in how we report and consume news and the increasingly valuable currency of speed and immediacy.  Ingram says, “…traditional media like newspapers or even television mostly lose.”  But it doesn’t have to be that  way.  YuVue can help everyone win: traditional media and the citizen journalist.

The heart of our mission and business model at YuVue is to directly connect eye-witness observers of breaking and trending news events with the media companies and the audiences that value that content.   Where we differ from Twitter and Instagram (the services Ingram discusses) is that we offer content creators the ability to manage how their work is used, to ensure they are credited and paid for it.

Technology had enabled greater credibility in first-hand accounts, empowering citizen journalists.  This has given “authenticity” new-found value.  The opportunity for us is to help citizen journalists monetize it.Web-Summit


Why I Love GoPro

by William Fisher

No, not just for mind-blowing footage like this. (Thank you, GoPro Original Productions.) And not just because founder Nick Woodman once raised money for the company by selling bead and shell belts out of his VW van.

I love GoPro because their cameras embody Woodman’s uncompromising vision of providing amateurs with the best tools available to shoot extreme action video. Because to him almost any aspiring videographer can now afford to, well, “go pro.”

But skateboarders, skydivers and surfers aren’t the only ones who have benefitted. Yesterday’s Mashable story about casual sexual harassment on the streets of New York, created with a GoPro camera hidden in a backpack, shows how a light, rugged camera can serve a more high-minded purpose.

GoPro’s technological innovation levels the playing field by enabling anyone – whether an adrenaline junkie or a civic-minded pedestrian – to tell a story with images.

At YuVue we’re expecting to get our share of video contributions from both. That’s why I love GoPro!

If you haven’t seen the video yet, here it is:

Hong Kong’s Citizen Journalists

by William Fisher

For those of us who have lived in Hong Kong, the Occupy Central movement is a very personal matter. Even more so if you lived through the Tiananmen Square protests. I remember my wife – then an editor at Magnum Photos – going back and forth to the airport at dawn, with the very important job of shepherding photographers and their film in and out of the country.

Then as now, the world is watching. But what we’re watching today isn’t necessarily coverage by Stuart Franklin or CNN. Mainly we’re looking at photos and videos taken on smartphones by the very student protesters who have brought the city to a standstill.

And the images are all the more powerful precisely because they’re the work of ordinary Hong Kong citizens.

Hong Kong protest near Wan Chai" by Citobun - Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Hong Kong protest near Wan Chai” by Citobun – Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Times have changed, and so have the obstacles that photographers and videographers face. Technology in general and smartphones in particular have empowered a new generation. But recent revelations about malicious apps intended to monitor Hong Kong’s smartphone-wielding protesters show that today’s citizen journalists face new obstacles of increased sophistication.

Who is responsible for the malicious apps? We may not know for sure, but of course we have a good idea.

For every such dirty tech trick, there are tech counter-measures. Mobile messaging services and apps like Firechat (which uses a phone’s radio and Bluetooth communication capabilities to create a network) have allowed protesters and civilian witnesses to skirt Internet disruptions and saturated cells.

YuVue aims to be part of the solution. Our app and Web platform connect professionals and citizen journalists directly with the media outlets and Web publishers who value their work.

It’s the present-day version of a pre-dawn ride to the airport.