Citizen Journalism at Ft. Hood Setting Bad Example?

Paul Carr  suggests that “social media might not be an unequivocally Good Thing in terms of privacy and human decency” in “NSFW: After Fort Hood, another example of how citizen journalists cant handle the truth”

Carr discusses the mis-information the public and the media received during the attack on Ft. Hood citing the Twitter account of Terah Moore, a soldier based at Fort Hood, as a perfect example. He thinks that real time reports of events or citizen journalism is making us egotistical, “How we’re increasingly seeing people at the scene of major accidents grabbing their cell phones to capture the dramatic events and share them with their friends, rather than calling 911”.

Carr proves his point by talking about this summer’s Iran elections and the death of Neda Agha Soltan. He argues that, as with the death of Soltan, people watch and report what happens instead of trying to help the people involved.

Perhaps the most engaging and persuasive part of his argument comes towards the end, “And that’s precisely the problem: none of us think were being selfish or egotistic when we tweet something, or post a video on YouTube or check-in using someones address on Foursquare. It’s just what we do now, no matter whether were heading out for dinner or witnessing a massacre on an Army base”.

Are we egotistical in becoming a part of the media ? Is it selfish to try to upload the next big video or get thousands to follow your tweets?

Carr makes a good point when he reminds his audience that the cameraman that zoomed in on Soltan wasn’t a trained professional but an ordinary person, a citizen just like Soltan. Obviously we come to expect coldness from our cameramen and reporters on the scene, but are the lines of citizen journalists and those traditionally trained so blurred that expectations are now the same?


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