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citizen journalism

This Is Why You Don’t Show Twitter Streams Live On TV

It could happen to anyone: You’re following a hashtag or a trending news topic on Twitter, and bam, you’re assaulted with hashtag spam or, worse, some sexually explicit item you don’t want to see.

Most of us quickly scroll away or close the browser, offended and put off for seconds. But what if you can’t pan away quick enough to avert not only your eyes but your viewers eyes from seeing … well everything?

Denver TV Station Fox 31 found out the hard way yesterday that you really need to curate that user-generated content before you put it up on screen. In the course of scrolling through Twitter images of the deadly helicopter crash in Seattle, the show went to the Twitter feed of photos from the crash scene.

Unfortunately, this was a crash course in the crassness of the Internet. The images weren’t selected ahead of time and so ended up being a hodge podge of pictures, including some off-topic and inappropriate things users had tagged to ride the coattails of the news cycle. That’s how the Denver morning show team ended up showing some non-relevant images that included food, Edward Scissors Hands and a penis. Yeah, that. On live TV. The reaction of shock on the anchors’ faces says it all:

surprisetweet

Many of the videos of this have been pulled down, but if you for some reason want to see the actual broadcast, Deadspin still has it posted in full. (Obviously, NSFW.)

The station did issue an apology, but it’s the type of thing you can’t unsee — and a lesson we hope nobody else needs to re-learn.

While reporting breaking news about the crash of the KOMO-TV helicopter in Seattle, FOX31 Denver accidentally broadcast an offensive photo while scrolling live through a Twitter feed of pictures from the crash scene.

The photo was mistakenly broadcast by our control room. It did not come from the tablet many viewers saw being used by one of our anchors.

We apologize for the inadvertent broadcast of the image and we are taking immediate steps to prevent such an accident from happening again.

This is why you don’t show uncurated feeds on live TV. And while we’re on it, really, you should be verifying any of those images you share before airing them anyway. This wouldn’t have happened if that step had taken place.

(h/t Deadspin)

Added Features for Vourno, the News Centric Crowdfunding Platform

vournologo1This past spring, I wrote about Vourno, a crowdfunding platform for the news. This week, they’ve added an “upload a video” feature in an effort to “promote immediate growth and content to [their] network and opens up [the] site to journalists around the globe seeking another distribution platform to showcase their work.”

Of course, you’ve always been able to upload a video onto Vourno, but it had to be through their “create a story” feature. Now journalists can link to a Vimeo or YouTube account or upload an actual video file, put it up for the public to fund or watch, and gain exposure.

In an effort to boost participation, Vourno offered $50 on the launch date, November 5th, to any journalist who uploaded a video. Co-founder Joe Verdirame couldn’t elaborate on the number of users who uploaded videos just yet, but told me via email that the promo has “set them in a positive direction.”

Since their US launch, Vourno has launched in Canada, and the U.K. and is planning on opening up shop in Australia, Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, The Netherlands and Spain in the coming year.

Have you used the site yet? Have a news video you want to upload?

On the Media Asks Listeners to ‘Be the Journalist’ With Web Tool

otmOn The Media, the NPR podcast, is part media reporting, part commentary and part investigative journalism organization. And I’m not just saying that because the pledge drive is going on.

Sometimes they just fall into it. A few weeks ago, OTM producer Sarah Abdurrahman and her family were detained “for hours” at the US- Canadian border. She produced a piece about the ordeal that you can listen to here. On the most recent show, they followed up with more questions for the Department of Homeland Security — questions that are still unanswered.

So, OTM produced an online tool for listeners to contact their representatives on the relevant oversight committees and “shed light on the DHS.” There are supplied questions and fields to use to report back directly to OTM. You can see, and use, the tool below.

Read more

Dispatch From Italy: Citizen Journalism and YouReporter Making Waves

imageDid you know that in Italy, to be a practicing journalist, you take exams and get certified? That’s what my Roman friend, a senior digital editor at one of the country’s largest publishing groups told me over lunch this week during my Italian holiday. It’s like being a lawyer, or an architect. And while the practice of certifying journos still stands, even over here where traditions are hard to break, the industry has been disrupted.

Italy is still a country in which practicing independent journalism is a political, and not just entrepreneurial, act. And still, YouReporter.it, a crowd sourced, video sharing news platform is widely used. Launched in 2008, the site has expanded with an app for both Android and iOS, and a text based news blog. Lots of “mainstream” news publishing organizations use videos or photos from the site, and all they have to do is use the logo and attribute the view to YouReporter.

When co-founder Angelo Cimarosti and his colleagues, Luca Bauccio and Stefano De Nicolo, started thinking about the site in 2006, bandwidth in Italy was weak, and hard to find. Smartphones had yet to saturate the market. So they started with a focus on photos, in addition to video. In fact, Cimarosti told me over the phone that when the earthquake in l’Aquilia hit in 2008, hundreds of photos were uploaded to the site; had it been just video based, YouReporter would have never gotten off the ground.

“You can start small,” Cimarosti told me over the phone. (All translations are mine)

“The success of YouReporter is about the small things, especially in a country like Italy, made up of small towns. People already have an outlet for the big news events — an earthquake, a cruise ship crash, even a big snow storm. What YouReporter users share and want to know about are the small things — suspended trash pick-up, the traffic sign on the corner that needs to be replaced.” Read more

BBC.com and Quora Partner Up For New Column

BBC.com LogoBBC.com and Quora announced a partnership this week. It’s called the Quora Column, and BBC.com contributors will write columns based on popular discussions on the Q&A site.

They launched a trial column this summer on the travel pages, where it’s been a success. Other news sites also feature Quora columns — such as Slate. Unlike Slate, however, the BBC.com version won’t just be reprinted popular answers. David Allen, managing editor of BBC.com’s features section told me over email that Quora will be used for fodder and answers:

We work with Quora to help seed questions in key topic areas for a subject that we’re looking to cover and they’ll also help us identify key contributors and topics that have already been covered and fit within the subject we’re interested in. Both Quora and BBC.com are rooted in knowledge – each reader/user base has a lot of crossover. We’re not just reprinting popular answers.

I have never really known what to make of Quora, and seem to stumble upon it more often as I persuse and search the web. The partnership is interesting — it’s great to know what readers are already thinking about and expanding upon it. And it’s a great way to leverage user generated content. BBC.com is also working with Quora to “seed out” key contributors and topics to cover. The column launched on the BBC.com Auto pages and BBC.com’s Capital vertical. What do you think about Quora columns? Do you ask or answer questions on the site?

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