Oct 15

Is it about (good) news or real change? – journalism and social media storytelling of development

By Isabel Marques da Silva


Good, positive, constructive or solutions-based journalism is a trend that has been on the rise in the the last two decades, in parallel with an increased use of internet platforms and logics for the production and consumption of stories taking place in the so-called developing world.

But what does it say about mobilisation for action and social change when the ‘alternative’ storytelling from journalists and/or citizens dissatisfied with the traditional, westernised and colonial point of view of that world, (creating for that purpose alternative blogs and ‘marginal’ news websites) evolves to also become a tool for Western development agents in their communication efforts, such as the journalistic awareness campaign “World’s Best News” by Danish aid agency DANIDA, (in cooperation with UN, 100 NGOs and 100 private companies) about the Millennium Development Goals?

What are the challenges for storytelling about development and appeals to mobilisation when pursuing new media trends and tools such as “Solutions Journalism Network”, “Positive News”, “Sparknews.com” and “Reporters d’Espoirs”? How are mainstream journalism organisations balancing their professional acquis with riding these new media trends, such as “Huffington Post’s” Positive News column or “The Guardian” Global Development section?

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Oct 15

Refugee crisis #NotInMyName: participatory media intervention

by Mindaugas Jocbalis

‘NotInMyName’ demonstration in Budapest, Hungary. 2015. Photo credit: Jelena Gregorius at Twitter.

There’s no denying that the refugee crisis has escalated in 2015, with equal interest in participatory media representation. YouTube video channels, social media pages, and political activism groups, have all increased in numbers evident in the digital sphere, according to Google Trends. Particular focus can be paid to volunteer and activist participatory media blogs europerefugeecrisis.com, refugeecrisisinhungary.wordpress.com and writersforcalaisrefugees.wordpress.com. It is worth noting that they are not run or contributed to by front-line refugees, aid workers or emergency services. So it is difficult to verify the factual accuracy of representations of the ongoing Syrian, Iraqi, Afghan, Somalian and Eritrean refugee crisis. What is evident, is the popularity of alternative media spheres, which have been revived since the decline of Indymedia (see previous article by Michael O’Regan). This makes it different from the continuous efforts by media portals to represent migrants, (see previous article by Isabel Marques da Silva) and also different to previous refugee crises, where the vestigal view was that traditional media had the ability to influence the majority.

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Sep 15

Modalities of mobilisation: whither Indymedia?

by Michael O’Regan

A Map Of The World

New media are constantly being (re)born. Their endlessly emergent iterations and configurations present something of a double-edged sword to the activist demos. On one hand, this ongoing technological shape-shifting encourages and facilitates a continuously regenerating oppositional praxis. On the other, an ever-deepening techno-centrism risks fetishizing novelty at the expense of continuity. Novelty, of course, withers swiftly on the vine; that which seems exciting and useful in one moment, faces a near-immediate battle to skirt obsolescence or irrelevance.

An illustrative manifestation of this phenomenon is the confused status of the Independent Media Center (Indymedia, for short). Indymedia was the future once, the loadstar of a supposed revolution in journalism that expanded exponentially and inspired a thousand treatises, before academic and activist attention was captured by the social media of Web 2.0. Continue reading →