In which I become a citizen journalist

That tornado again. I took a few snaps on my way to collect the secondborn from school and put them in a flickr set called “Tornado” with the comment “It lasted 10″ and injured 6 people but the media converged as though to some kind of national emergency.” Well, it was irritating being pounced on by reporters wanting to know what had happened “the day the sky went black”, as one of them put it. I mean, really. Was it such a slow news day?

Somewhat to my surprise I subsequently received an automated invitation from the citizen journalism outfit NowPublic asking if I would care to contribute my pictures to their article on the subject.

1 invite

I’d heard that NowPublic had a whizzy automated application which allowed quick and easy importing of photos from flickr which weren’t already available under a Creative Commons license so I was intrigued to see it in action.

Clicking on the link took me directly to NowPublic’s site and the detailed form shown below (click on it for a larger version if you want to read the small print):

2 form

I signed on and clicked upload and lo! the story in question now had my pictures as illustration rather than the lifts from a newspaper and the BBC websites which had been there just seconds before:

3 story

(The strange box with the f in the middle is my browser’s flash animation blocker hiding a piece of video of the storm as it passed over another part of London.)

Each photograph uploaded now has a trackback to the story in which it appears added as a comment.

All very clever and nifty. The only way in which it seems not to have worked entirely as planned is the fact that of the 13 photographs selected for uploading in the original request only five made it to the site, but that may have been a deliberate throttle of which I am unaware.

So. How do we make something like this for Global Voices?

5 Replies to “In which I become a citizen journalist”

  1. I’m by no means any kind of expert in this Web 2.0 stuff, but I imagine that like Moo, Dumpr etc this is done by clever programming people who use the Flickr APIs to tie photos in to their own database. You’d want to do something similar with the GV WordPress database.

    I realise that this is stating the obvious, but that “Comments (0)” was bothering me.

  2. Thanks for that. It was a rhetorical question since you’re no doubt the only person who reads the blog who would have an idea of how to go about it. It’s not obvious at all! And you’ve given me a chance to respond which gets the comments rate up to 2.

  3. I’m only commenting to say that Mr. Hg is not the only person who reads your blog and has a clue about doing it. Not a very big clue. However, I can’t add much to the conversation except to say that he is probably right, and to get the comments up to 4 ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. And I’m only commenting to say that you’re very welcome Paul, glad to meet you and thanks for your wisdom. And bringing the comments complement up to 5 has got nothing to do with it ๐Ÿ™‚

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