Monday, April 11, 2011

NewsParticipation dot com: A Site To Put The Initiative Back In Citizens' Hands.

A friend of mine recommended this site to me with this glowing tribute " This is a site that has the potentials to change the way journalism is practised and viewed around the world" I was skeptical at first and not until I went and viewed this site did I begin to see the possibilities that it offers.

The media these days is controlled by special interests and the news it brings to the people are about 90% doctored and prepared to represent or protect the interests of these special interests. These special interests could be businesses, politicians, religions etc and when the news we get are doctored to represent these interests, the citizens are left confused and uneducated about what goes on.

Before now, the citizens have no means of telling their own stories even when they know that the stories they get in the media are false. They are forced to discuss in frustration among the small groups they can form which cannot make any difference. This situation makes misinformation of the populace possible because when the only information the people get is wrong information, at some point they'll start to believe it.

The site in question is called and, like it rightly claims, and it's name suggests, it is about fostering citizen journalism. Basically, it is a website where anybody and everybody can go and tell their stories. This makes it unique in the sense that the news will be coming from the proverbial horses' mouths and not from some second hand source where it could be tainted by ideologies and politics like the mainstream media.

Newsparticipation gives the citizens the opportunity to reclaim the discourse from the politically and ideologically motivated media that control it at the moment. Every citizen with a camera, video or still, can easily tell their story to either contradict, complement or corroborate the mainstream media stories. This could be as simple as aiming a video camera at yourself while you speak about how a particular policy by your national, state or local government affects you, or as involved as making a full length documentary about the same issue.

Another quality of this website is that it will take journalistic coverage to places where it would not be possible for mainstream media to cover due to lack of resources and, or special interest expediency. This will ensure that no story is left untold as citizens now have the wherewithal to bring these stories to the world.
It could be as simple as taking pictures of an event that is happening in your vicinity and uploading and sharing with the world in a situation where the mainstream media does not have the resources or the reach to cover.

Some people that I have discussed this site with ask me if this is not just duplicating the work of youtube and I answer that it is not. It is not, in the sense that youtube is just a jumble of videos which basically promote entertainment and other frivolities. I don't doubt that some news worthy videos are posted on youtube but such videos are mostly hidden away because they're not in the right place. Few  people, if any, associate youtube with news and information, and rightly so.

Newsparticipation provides that right place for such news videos and photos. It is a place where people can confidently tell their stories knowing that it will not be swallowed up and hidden by the frivolity that takes up much of a site like youtube.

Check it out here

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