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Citizen journalism and the new technology of accountability

By Meg Cater | Aug 26, 2014

By Meg Cater

Typically, smartphones are far from tools that support awareness of our surroundings. No, they are the things our gaze is fixated on while we walk down the street rather than the guy we are about to knock heads with. The Zen practices we adopted a decade ago to reveal the beauty within every moment seem a bit silly today; forget about reminding ourselves to return to our breath, we need to remind ourselves to actually look forward in anticipation of large objects that could cause pain upon collision.

However, there is a force emerging to balance the collision-by-smartphone phenomena. And it could not only rescue us from becoming zombie nations but also contribute to a new era of accountability via investigative journalism.

Last year, Guardian Journalist Paul Lewis gave a moving TED talk on the rise of citizen journalism, explaining the power of people around the world recording their environment and telling their own story. Lewis’s talk seems all the more appropriate today with so much activism happening against a backdrop of civil unrest. “Citizen journalism and this technology has inserted a new layer of accountability into our world,” says Lewis. Through two powerful examples of murder and cover-up exposed via citizen journalism, Lewis explains both best practices and the transformative role citizen journalism is playing in 21st century news gathering. His talk, reposted below, is well worth its 16 minutes.

At Signiant, we work with some of the largest media organizations in the world, like the BBC, NBC, and Discovery. To support citizen journalists everywhere and news organizations that want to easily receive footage from the field, Signiant recently launched a free mobile app for Media Shuttle. Go here to download the app or search for Media Shuttle Mobile in your phone’s app directory, and see how we’ve taken the easy large file transfer capacity of Media Shuttle and extended it to mobile.