Another topic that came up at Sunday’s Commie J-School, mostly as people introduced themselves, was that of the roles and labels we choose for ourselves. “Advocacy journalist,” “citizen journalist” and “citizen reporter” are some of those used. A major network reporter once derisively called us “iPhone journalists,” a term I find quite apt and endearing.
For the first time ever, the tools to report facts, opinions and analysis using print, video, photography and graphic art, both recorded and live, are in the hands of virtually anyone with a modest income. This is revolutionary and is an integral part of both the open, transparent character of Occupy and a harbinger of the emerging hyper-networked democratic society. The means prefigure the ends.
Last Sunday, I was one of 11 people who attended what got nicknamed “Commie J-School” in Mosswood Park in Oakland. Initiated by two of Occupy Oakland’s most active reporters, journalist and cartoonist Susie Cagle and journalist and journalism teacher Justin Beck ( @susie_c and @pixplz respectively on Twitter), it was billed on the Facebook page as
A workshop on journalism law, ethics, best practices, tips & tricks. We’ll cover livestreaming, tweeting, blogging, photographing, interviewing, investigating, and the tools needed/best used for all.
That, of course, sounds like a couple years’ worth of journalism school curriculum, not a two-hour workshop. Nevertheless, quite a bit of ground did get covered as it applies to amateur, citizen and freelance journalists covering topics like, but not limited to, Occupy Oakland.
Everyone not living in a cave has heard about Occupy Wall Street and most are probably aware of Occupy Oakland. If you live in Seattle, L.A., Chicago, Denver and other big U.S. cities, you’ve probably at least heard passing mention of Occupy encampments or actions in your town. But, until now, who knew about Occupy Vacaville (California) or Occupy Bemidji (Minnesota) or the hundreds of other Occupy locations around North America and the world?
In order to defeat spammers and to save their servers from being overloaded, Twitter sometimes temporarily suspends an account from further posting for a short period of time—usually under a couple hours. To get thrown in this “Twitter Jail,” as it’s known, you have to send over 100 tweets/hour or 1,000/day.
Recently the Oregon State legislature introduced—and, for now, killed—Senate Bill 1534, a bill that would have put most of us in actual jail for sending ONE tweet if the content involved soliciting “two or more persons to commit a specific crime at a specific time and location.” The crime you would be charged with under this law is “aggravated solicitation.” Read More…and weep
An excellent, simple animation explaining the importance of strong, open networks for organizing revolution. It also applies to organizing globalized society as a whole.
It’s a quick, entertaining video about the importance of grassroots international interconnectivity in the face of governmental international interconnectivity.
As I said in an earlier post, creating robust networks without regard to borders is necessary for globalized solidarity actions to be able to have tangible, on-the-ground effects. So far, solidarity actions like the Oakland/Cairo marches against police brutality in each others’ cities provide a transitory morale boost (not to be discounted), but little more. This video shows how robust connectivity, or its lack, helped or hindered events of the last year in the Arab world. I believe the next year will see rapid advances in global solidarity actions, the effects of which we can barely imagine now.
For convenience, I’ve copied the list of links to Arabic- and Persian-language versions and their other information below. (Now, speaking of openness and connectivity, you have to ask to join their Facebook page, something that is usually a hindrance to sharing.)
I just saw it this evening when one of my Tweeps RT’d a link. (Okay, let me translate: One of the people whose posts I follow on Twitter re-posted someone else’s post with a link to the Salon article.)
The author also has an interesting blog with some clearly cutting-edge thinking on the subject of our relationship with the digital world. (Ugh, another must-follow blog!) The site link is to a particularly interesting post about the fallacy of what he calls the “digital dualist” view—the idea that our “virtual” lives and “real” lives are separate—promoting instead his view of life as an augmented reality, summed up somewhat in this excerpt:
I am proposing an alternative view that states that our reality is both technological and organic, both digital and physical, all at once. We are not crossing in and out of separate digital and physical realities, ala The Matrix, but instead live in one reality, one that is augmented by atoms and bits. And our selves are not separated across these two spheres as some dualistic “first” and “second” self, but is instead an augmented self.
“People with good info were drowned out by your ignorance @MikalJakubal”
Yesterday, the police raided the Occupy Oakland vigil and tree sit, arresting around a dozen people, three at the tree-sit and the rest at the vigil area or on 16th Street just to the north. I was in the area for most of this and tweeted and livestreamed throughout. I was later accused of putting out misleading information. What happened, instead, was a small cascade of miscommunication, based on assumptions, information gaps and protocol lapses, that led to misunderstanding of and false accusations against my reporting. At the end of the day, none of it was of any consequence to the outcome but, in another situation, it might have mattered. I’m posting this hoping that others can glean some bit of experience from it.
I own my mistakes and challenge the other parties to own theirs. read on!
What, exactly is Occupy? It is obviously not an organization or a political party, nor is it defined by a specific goal or activity. Yes, it’s a “meme”— a contagious idea—that promotes discussion and prompts people into action, but what do you call the social phenomenon itself? How do you describe hundreds of actions, all linked yet independent, all ephemeral yet recurring, spread across the world, arising unpredictably and evolving constantly? I always wrinkle my nose a bit when, for lack of a better term, I write “movement,” as it seems so inadequate. More words occupying this page
Okay, doesn’t really work as a chant. Still, Occupy Research is a promising new wiki platform for doing sociological research on the Occupy movement, described as “an open, distributed research project that anyone can participate in.” I highly recommend that you click here and take their 10-minute (or less) survey. The more data we have, the better able we’ll be able to understand what we can do to make Occupy a more effective movement. The survey is also for people who haven’t been involved. Continue reading →
It’s here, in the palms of our hands, what military strategists and other organizers have dreamed about for millennia: instant, live, visual communications across any distance. People in ancient times used to consult oracles and pray to deities for the power that we now have in smartphones with livestreaming capability.
I’ve written elsewhere about how I think livestreaming video capability is game-changing in terms of social movements, so I won’t repeat it here, instead focusing on some ways to improve the quality and utility of the livestreams.
The streams I’ve watched range from excellent (shout-out to @Oakfosho), to unwatchable. We have to remember that we’re the eyes for the world. When people chant “The whole world is watching!”—they’re watching through us. Continue reading →