Category Archives: citizen journalism

Google Glass — Can I Get A Witness?

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Don’t get me wrong, I can’t stand gardening. But the first thing that came to mind when I put on Google Glass was my mother’s organic garden.

You won’t catch me outside in broiling 98-degree southern humidity struggling to hack through a dense, painfully stinging row of okra, or pulling nasty, squirming wormy things off dozens of tomato bushes. No siree! But you will catch my mother doing that crazy stuff. For hours on end, day after day, week after week, throughout the south’s high summer months.

That said, if you can get past the oppressive heat and humidity there really is no more verdant and glorious vision of bounty, robust health and natural beauty than a southern organic garden at its summer harvesting peak.

Thus the thought of me strolling, beatifically wired, through rows of an organic garden in full, wearing a pair of Glass with my mother narrating the purvey and provenance of every lush plant and vegetable, set my pan-media-tuned mind into high and sunny gear.

Who wouldn’t want to document and share that kind of rich media in our connected world? To be fresh content-enabled, breezily so, by merely putting on glasses, something I’ve done every day since I was 7-years old anyway.

One of the great things about living near the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech, of course) is participating in some of the innovations and events churned from there. Whether beta testing products in development, networking, attending concerts or lectures, there’s a wealth of experience and knowledge available to the university’s surrounding community, so last night (July 11) I hopped over to nearby startup nurturer, Flashpoint on West Peachtree Street.

There, Randy J. Mitchell, the founder and CEO of Plisten, along with Google and Hypepotamus, hosted a meetup for Google Glass developers and designers. My friend/mentor and sometime colleague, veteran political reporter Tom Baxter, who’s always up for some new media-creation adventures, tagged along too.

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The Hypocrisy of CNN. Seriously.

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Oh this is classic! CNN mocks all-things Occupy Wall Street, as a movement. But with its other hand doesn’t hesitate to solicit the movement’s media – without paying for it! Via iReport.

I hope no one’s stupid enough to give away their media to a corporate hater. At least charge ’em for it. Jeez.

Note the insertion of the iReport ads soliciting free media stuck in here.

Practice safe media, kiddies!

No One Tweeted. No One Facebooked.

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“Once we heard the gunshots and got up, we were watching out the window, and I actually started Tweeting it, what was going on,” said Jeremy Powell, who is the morning show producer on Dave FM.

Everything plays out now, moreorless, in real time. (Witness the dude in Pakistan inadvertently Tweeting bin Laden’s demise.) Via Twitter, uStream.tv, Facebook and YouTube. Everything except for crippling disasters in the rural American south.

NPR’s Morning Edition today focused on a small town in AL ravaged and wrecked by the storms of Wednesday, April 27, 2011. The worst series of tornadoes ever recorded in the United States.

We were able to watch this tornadic mayhem play out in real time from the Tweets, and the seemingly endless stream of citizen media, coming out of the Birmingham and Tuscaloosa, AL areas; Tuscaloosa being the home of (fully wired) University of Alabama, so it’s little wonder so much media came from there.

There was so much out there to follow I gave up trying to curate it in real time, such as with a paper.ly product, as I like to try to do with real time disasters in the nearby (GA) area.

I just slapped a #tornado hashtag-generated column onto my TweetDeck and let that serve as my eyes and ears until I collapsed from pan media-watching exhaustion later that evening.

But there was no real time media coming from the more rural areas of AL, places also in the paths of some 300-plus  tornadoes that day/night. Morning Edition finally caught-up with what’s on the ground now, for a national audience, almost a week afterwards, in Hackleburg, AL.

That story is here. No mention whatsoever of any Twitter, Facebook, YouTube. Internet = zero in rural AL? Or just another case of MSM herd mentality? Could be some of both.

One has to assume that rural AL is not wired for real time crisis communication use the way we’re becoming accustomed to now, though. And that needs to change.

Tour of a Flooded Home in NW Atlanta, Georgia. 9-23-09

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UPDATE. May 5, 2010. This particular home was a total loss and torn down. Seems a new one is under way though, when I drove by in the heavy rains today along Peachtree Creek. Boy are people resilient or what?!

Post-flood. A tour of a flooded home, randomly chosen from many others just like it, along Hanover West Dr. in NW Atlanta, GA near Peachtree Creek.

Thanks to the homeowner, Bill Powell and his amazing attitude: “We’re gonna dry it out, clean it up, then we’re gonna jack it up.”

Thanks also to Jarred Opstad of Metro Furniture Restorations in Tucker, GA who took a moment to talk about the process of working on a seriously flooded home. A WaySouth Media, Inc. production. 9-23-09.

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Twitter Hashtags In Crisis Communication/Atlanta Flood 2009

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Grayson Daughters and Tessa Horehled talk using Twitter hashtags in crisis communication and disaster relief during the Atlanta, Georgia flood of September 2009. #atlflood

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Amani Channel Post-Morts The CBS46 Blogger Summit on 7-20-09

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I Went To An Atlanta Local News Station And All I Got Was This Flip Cam

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In all fairness, I also got a tee shirt when I went to the CBS46 “Blogger Summit.” And a nice highlighter pen thingee in the goodie bag, in addition to the Flip cams CBS6 news director Steve Schwaid and co. handed out to the 25 or so assembled Atlanta blogerati who filled up an empty studio with pizza and some lively chatter about community, social networks, and what bloggers can and cannot add to the broadcasting milieu on July 20, 2009.

Come to think about it, CBS46, or WGCL, did a remarkable thing this evening – they invited Atlanta bloggers and social media utilizers from the metro area into their station to talk about, er, stuff. I can’t say this has ever happened before in Atlanta – the MSM reaching out in such a way, other than that one ill-fated meeting at WSB-TV a couple of years ago, but that meeting was so pointless and futile it’s not really worth mentioning so I’ll leave it at “ill-fated.”

I admire their chutzpah at WGCL if nothing else. It may be a case of nothing left to lose so why not go for broke? But to widen the net towards taking seriously Atlanta’s numerous community content providers seems like a reasonable, if not likely highly lucrative, approach.

The chit chat at CBS46 was brisk and spicy, as was the A-listing of some of Atlanta’s longtime, well-regarded bloggers who showed. Spotted in the crowd were Blog For Democracy’s co-founders Catherine Smith and Melanie Goux, Peach Pundit’s Buzz Brockway, Dan Greenfield of BernaiseSource, Amani Channel of My Urban Report, Rusty Tanton of Georgia Podcast Network, Tessa Horehled of Drive A Faster Car, and Doug Richards of Live Apartment Fire.

(Oddly enough, as CBS46 isn’t a Cox Plantation property, a couple of reporter/bloggers from the Cox Plantation Big House showed too, but I’m not sure why they were there as they never said a word. Go figure. Your guess is as good as mine.)

CBS46 wasn’t too coy about why they wanted us bloggers and SM users there. They wanted us bloggers and citizen journalists and writers and marketeers and promoters there to ask us to provide content. For free. To them. (Thus the handing out of the Flip cams.)

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And that’s ok. I didn’t think we were invited in to be given paying jobs as journalists and anointed Queens and Kings of the ATL. CBS46 wants to try new things. I assume they need to try new things. They’re willing to experiment, in a rather large way, with citizen journalism and the news content they broadcast. My hat’s off to anyone willing to experiment with change in a traditional medium and not be crystal clear as to what, or even where, the road ahead is going to be. (That approach having been my personal MO for the last couple of years or so.)

But I gotta tell you, with so many places to give our content away for free, other than our own blogs, at some point I’m going to get hyper-picky. No one’s offering grownup money, so until they do we’ve got to be happy with a tee shirt, free pizza,  and an occasional guest flash of our homemade news-style content wherever we can get it.

I don’t know if this is the formula for changing the world, and somehow I doubt it is. But in the Atlanta market at least it is a fresh approach and a start to messing around with the status quo of local news broadcasting as we’ve historically known it.  (White anchor, black anchor, traffic chopper, and a whole lotta crime scene tape.) And that’s got to be a good thing.

So is the nifty Flip cam handed out by CBS46. I’ve been wanting one of those puppies for a while now. I got mine home and pointed it at the dog. She didn’t seem to mind:

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