During the afternoon session at the Personal Democracy Forum today, we sat in on one panel about citizen journalism and another focused on organizing and fundraising using Twitter.
The first panel of the afternoon was moderated by The Nation‘s Ari Melber and featured social media experts Amanda Michel of ProPublica.org, NPR‘s Andy Carvin, Twittervision’s Dave Troy and Andrew Turner of GeoCommons.
The panel discussed using crowd sourcing and citizen journalists to report and develop stories. These tools were the key to covering stories like the 2008 election cycle and the inauguration festivities. The group talked about why citizens want to get involved, deciding that involvement can be attributed to many different factors, from political motivation, curiosity or just to check where tax dollars are being spent.
“Sometimes imminent danger motivates people,” Carvin said, adding that more than 500 people volunteered to report news and information for NPR in the days leading up to Hurrican Gustav’s landing last year.”But I can’t get people on board a hurricane project for this year until there is a storm about to hit.”
Michel, who worked for the Huffington Post‘s Off the Bus project during the election last year, said that although she needs to check information from politically motivated sources carefully, sometimes they make the best sources.
“It needs to be an issue they care about — either they or their friends or family is involved — something there to pull them in,” agreed Turner. “They are not going to get involved just because it’s in front of them.”
(Photo: Melber, Turner, Michel, Troy and Carvin talk citizen journalism)