“A video is trending depicting a young girl from Texas named Sophie who alleges that her stepfather is abusing her. The heartbreaking clip sees Sophie screaming and alleging abuse against her mom’s new fiancé. The video, which has gone viral on social media, shows a little girl named Sophie claiming that she has suffered abuse at the hands of her stepfather in her mother’s home. Speaking to her grandmother in the video, Sophie refuses to leave a car she is sat in during a custody exchange. The footage then went viral, inspiring the social media campaign Stand with Sophie.” – https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/12635924/stand-with-sophie-viral-video-abuse/
In this shocking viral video, we see citizen journalism being used as a voice for a young girl where no one around her will listen.
GoFundMe raised $210,622 out of a $25,000 goal in one month. 9,298 people contributed.
“We all watched the horrific death of George Floyd on video as witnesses begged the police officer to take him into the police car and get off his neck,” Crump said in a statement. “This abusive, excessive and inhumane use of force cost the life of a man who was being detained by the police for questioning about a non-violent charge.”
Shortly after 18:00 (15:00 GMT), the roof of the warehouse caught alight and there was a large initial explosion, followed by a series of smaller blasts that some witnesses said sounded like fireworks going off.
If this had been spoken about by mainstream media, I strongly believe less people would have paid as much attention to it as they did when it was streamed as citizen journalism.
13 October Research 2
Citizen journalism involves private individuals, who are normally the consumers of journalism, generating their own news content. Citizens collect, report, analyze, and disseminate news and information, just as professional journalists would, creating what is known as user-generated content.
These amateur journalists produce news in many forms, ranging from a podcast editorial to a report about a city council meeting on a blog, and is usually digital in nature. It can also include text, pictures, audio, and video. Social media plays a major role in disseminating news and promoting citizen journalism content. These people get the stories out quicker than traditional news reporters – Understanding Citizen Journalism, Thoughtco
Citizen Journalism circulates around overcoming adversity.
I have chosen the method of researching case studies in my topic. They capture the reality of citizen journalism’s impact on media reliability, as they are stories of real people and go further than a figure or a statistic. More importantly, they highlight the need for change. When traditional journalism goes quiet, citizen journalism gets louder – my chosen case studies are prime instances of this.
Q: How does citizen journalism highlight breaches of human rights?
Emma Murphy Fights Back
In 2015, Emma Murphy (26) from Santry, Dublin sat down at the bottom of her stairs with a fresh black eye from her partner.
Her two young children could be seen playing in the background. After much deliberation, she began to record herself speaking on her situation of domestic violence.
She described her partner’s infiedlity, her confrontation and his violent response. “He hit me…” She tells the camera, wiping her tears, “It wasn’t the first time.” In the video she tells how the man she was in a relationship with punched her and “split her head open” in previous episodes of violence. – All of this can be seen in the primary source of Emma Murphy speaking. Article also written by Conor Feehan, The Independent
Q: With such a powerful message, how did this effect the life’s of other survivors of domestic abuse?
When Ms Murphy uploaded the video to her Facebook account, her intention was to share her story with “a few close friends and family”. She had no idea that sharing this piece of citizen journalism would change her life and hundreds of other’s forever. She spoke in a TedTalk about her experience, where she said “Without (Facebook) to voice my story, I would still be in that very unhapy place where I wished I was dead.”
The video has been viewed over 10 million times, encouraging countless other domestic abuse survivors to come forward with their story. – Be specific with numbers; where has video been viewed?
Since uploading the video, Ms Murphy has participated in further work in order to help other people in similar situations.
She spoke in a TedExTalk about her experience, where she said “Without (Facebook) to voice my story, I would still be in that very unhappy place where I wished I was dead.” – Repeat of verification; link to above. Find further quotes from video to add to piece.
She also made a documentary “Emma Murphy Fights Back” to speak to other suriviors, and continues to use her platform to raise awareness of Domestic Abuse. – Further detail into documentary content, and add ways in which she uses her platform to raise awareness.
Q: Can you clearly outline what has changed, such as laws etc?
On 2nd September 2020, a video began to circulate of a 9 year old girl from Texas named Sophie refusing to go home with her mother and stepfather.
Screaming in tears, Sophie accuses her stepfather and his friends of sexual assault.
What were some direct quotes of Sophie? (Less gruesome.)
Sharing the video led to a GoFundMe page being set up for Sophie, raising $210,622 out of a $25,000 target. As well as this, full custody has been awarded of Sophie and her two brothers to her biological father. – I will explore deeper into the impacts of this case, such as what happened to her mother and step-father, what the reach of the video was like and who else came forward.
George Floyd was a 46 year old father of five. He lived in Minneaplois, Minnesota and was a proud African-American. – Verify how I know he was “proud” – On May 25th, officers responded to a report of a “forgery in progress”, after Floyd bought a packet of cigarettes. It was believed he used a fake $20 bill.
While arresting him, officers pulled Floyd from his car, causing him to fall to the ground. He was handcuffed. Video evidence taken by a bystander shows Floyd losing consciousness as an officer knelt on his neck, and he was pronounced dead an hour later.
Police brutality against people of colour is nothing society has not seen before, but it was this video surfacing online that sparked a civil rights movement globally. The gruesomeness and obvious hatred shown within the video was something that people could no longer turn a blind eye to – it was time for change.
Floyd’s death led to protests with one message in common – Black Lives Matter. Cities in 50 countires held demonstrations. In the UK and US, video footage has surfaced of historical monuments with links to slavery being vandalised has surfaced. The statue of Edward Colston, who was involved in the Atlantic slave trade, was thrown into the harbour in protest of white privilege. In US, statues of Christopher Columbus have been defaced or taken down. Society has become more attentive to racially insensitive people and shows. Public figures such as Keith Lemon have apologized for their use of “black face”, explaining how their intention of doing so was for comedic purposes and not to insult or offend anyone. Little Britain and Come Fly with Me, shows from eras of different humor, have been removed off Netflix.
How did this combat mainstresam traditional news of Covid? Particularly relating to protests, lack of social distancing, cases afterwards etc
An observation I made was how emotionally impacted people are by citizen journalism as opposed to traditional journalism. This can be seen in my case studies I have chosen to explore – a global outcry occurred for all three situations of three individual people. From sums of money being donated, to protests happening all around the world, to people having the courage to change their own lifes forever, citizen journalism hits a nerve that traditional journalism fails to. Regarding media reliability, the more that these cases blow up, the more evidence appears of injustice occuring.
Anyone has the power to make a change for what’s right, no matter who you are.Abbie Alwell explores this through the impacts of three individual situations.
When traditional journalism goes quiet, citizen journalism gets loud. As cliché as this sounds, the most topical issues we speak on have became relevant due to their circulation on social media. Ordinary people with ordinary mobile phones and ordinary social media accounts – their reporting resonates with the public more than an ordinary newsroom ever could.
The reason for thisis different for everyone. You might identify with these stories on a personal level, stressing on the emotional aspect of it. You might be struck by the familiarity of those who’s story is broadcasted online (“They’re just like me. That could have been me.”) . Or, you find a shaky camera, poor lighting and one strong message radiating from it too raw to scroll past (like myself.)
I have chosen the method of researching case studies in my topic, as three individual people stood out to me. I’d heard of their names countless times, be it on social media or in everyday conversations, and wondered to myself, “Where did it go from there?”. They capture the reality of citizen journalism’s impact on media reliability, as they are stories of real people and go further than a figure or a statistic. More importantly, they highlight the need for change.
Emma Murphy Fights Back
In 2015, Emma Murphy sat at the bottom of her stairs. Her two young children played in the background. Emma had a black eye. Hesitantly, she began to record herself: “He hit me…,” she tells the camera, holding back tears, “…it wasn’t the first time.”
“He” refers to her partner at the time, the father of her children.
When Ms Murphy uploaded the video to her Facebook account, the video gained over 10 million views. She had no idea that sharing this piece of citizen journalism would change her life and the lives of hundreds of others.
Ms Murphy described to me the impacts of posting such a video: “My life has changed for the better since uploading my video. I now work full time in Domestic Violence which I feel I was meant to do. I speak to women every day about their experiences and support them through their journey. I am a happier and more confident woman since posting the video.”
Her partner had manipulated her into thinking that this behavior was acceptable, alongside of subjecting her to “mental torture” by calling her “paranoid” and “insecure” about his affair.
“Since my video went viral it has opened the door and began the conversation of abuse. People now talk about this more openly. We now even have the new coercive control bill that is now a criminal offence.”
On 2 January 2019, coercive control became a criminal offense in Ireland. Coercive control is psychological abuse in relationships that causes anxiety of physical violence. This takes over the victims life, resulting in a toxic pattern of humiliation and intimidation in fear of being subjected to physical or psychological abuse. It is included in the Domestic Violence Act, which explains the legal protections and help offered to domestic abuse victims.
Signs of coercive control can start out as simple as your partner making fun of issues they are aware you feel sensitive towards. Things can escalate quickly from this once confrontation occurs. Director of Women’s Aid Margaret Martin spoke on this on Today with Miriam O’Callaghan. She said: “I think it’s really interesting that this sort of abuse has been recognized because the thing about domestic violence is it is very much a pattern of different behaviors and very much repeated behaviors, and most crimes are about one single incident of assault, [like] burglary etc.”
Murphy continued to speak on the impacts of her video: “We have the government speaking about domestic violence more, more awareness campaigns. People have realized that domestic violence happens every day and that it is real. People now take domestic violence a bit more seriously as they now see the effects it has on families. I believe people are more open-minded now, and the conversation is more open.”
In November of this year, the lives of thousands of Irish women were impacted by a server on a US-based chat app called Discord. This was found to be hosting intimate images of Irish women and underage girls. These images were being shared amongst 500+ men across the country, with files as specific as the girls hair color, body type and ages.
The assumption online was that these girls deserved to be protected. The assumption online was that these images being uploaded without their consent will have consequences for uploaders. The assumption online was that justice will be served. This is not the case.
There is no law protecting these girls unless there is proof that the images include under 18’s.
That week, the people of Ireland pulled together online in order to help those working in raising awareness. A petition started by Megan on Change.org 5 months beforehand circulated to “Make revenge porn a criminal offense in Ireland.” At time of writing, this petition has 75,231 signatures. Written by Megan, the petition’s description states:
“Many women in Ireland are constantly targeted and disproportionately affected by this resulting in severe repercussions, leading in some cases to suicide. Girls affected by image-based sexual abuse are often also victims of severe cyber-bullying and job losses because of this.“
“I am publicly asking the Irish government for the Harassment, Harmful Communications and Related Offences Bill be signed into Irish law including that those guilty be added to the sex offenders register and face a criminal conviction which could see those convicted jailed for up to 7 years.”
People sharing their thoughts and experiences surrounding revenge porn was successful in the sense that bringing in a protection law was discussed through TDs. Despite this issue being brought before the Dail on multiple occasions, the Gardai have currently failed to implement due to them finding “no actaul complaint of image-based sexual abuse”.
We cannot stop fighting for these girls, and Megan has not stopped writing on social media about this since the rejection, urging people to continue reporting to the Gardai if their images have been included in the leak.
“We can’t take this lying down.”
The Murder of George Floyd – Enough is Enough
George Floyd was a 46 year old African-American father of five. He lived in Minneaplois, Minnesota. On May 25th, officers responded to a report of a “forgery in progress“, after Floyd bought a packet of cigarettes. It was believed he used a fake $20 bill.
While arresting him, officers pulled Floyd from his car, causing him to fall to the ground. He was handcuffed. Video evidence taken by a bystander shows Floyd losing consciousness as officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck, and he was pronounced dead an hour later.
Police brutality against people of color has been seen before, but it was this video surfacing online that sparked a civil rights movement globally. The gruesomeness and obvious hatred shown within the video was something that people could no longer turn a blind eye to – it was time for change.
Floyd’s death led to protests with one message in common – Black Lives Matter. Cities in 50 countries held demonstrations. 93% of these protests in the US were peaceful. Some became violent. Police began to fail to differentiate between the two. Largely peaceful protests commenced throughout Belarus, and were shut down by police force. Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, said:
“People have the right to speak up and express dissent, even more in the context of elections, when democratic freedoms should be upheld, not suppressed.”
In the UK and US, video footage has surfaced of historical monuments with links to slavery being vandalized. Since Floyd’s death, 38 statues in the US have been destroyed or toppled, such as monuments of Don Juan de Onate, John Breckenridge Castleman and Edward Carmack.
George Floyd’s memorial fund has reached $2,355,320 out of an updated $2,500,000 goal, and has become the most donated GoFundMe page to exist. The money of this fund is to assist in providing mental and grief counseling for George Floyd’s youngest child Gianna, to help cover court proceedings costs, and to help the family in paying for their child’s education.
Society has become more attentive to racially insensitive people and shows. Public figures such as Keith Lemon have apologized for their use of “black face”, explaining how their intention of doing so was for comedic purposes and not to insult or offend anyone. Little Britain and Come Fly with Me, shows from eras of different humor, have been removed off Netflix.
How It All Comes Together
An observation I made was how emotionally impacted people are by citizen journalism as opposed to traditional journalism. This can be seen in my case studies I have chosen to explore – a global outcry occurred for all three situations, contrasting one another. From petitions being signed, to protests happening all around the world, to people having the courage to change their own lives forever, citizen journalism hits a nerve that traditional journalism fails to. The voice of the people knows no boundaries.
If you’ve made it this far, be sure to drop a follow on my twitter @abbiealwelljou1.
Big thanks to Emma Murphy for speaking to me on her experiences for this piece. You can catch her on her instagram @emma_murphy_fitness, or her twitter @enmmamurphy.
I’m finding the secondary research beneficial to expanding my knowledge of my topic. Relevant articles, podcasts and videos are easily accessible online, and these are what I have used so far. I plan on visiting my local library to see if I can find books in relation to my research.
While researching initially, I realized I had to take a different approach to my topic. This was due to my original idea being too broad, and I became confused and easily carried away with what I was looking for. I told the tutor that I was considering modifying my approach to the topic, and they agreed that I would be better off doing so.
From now, I think it will take approximately 3 more hours to find all of the information that I am looking for.
I am keeping up to date with the tasks outlined in the project management plan so I do not have to rush to get everything done later on.
In terms of research, I am enjoying the process. At first, I was unsure of what my focus really was and what information I needed to get, which made me feel overwhelmed. It was a case of information overload. However, since adjusting my focus, I have found this much more enjoyable and feel like there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I am interested in my topic, and look forward to my classes and homework where I work on it.
1. What did the Padlet exercise teach you about creating stories from a given topic?
By using the Padlet exercise, it taught me how to gather all of my thoughts, view them clearly, and figure out if they useful or useless. The visuals on the website are clear and allow you to easily distinguish, with the help of “likes” from others, if your idea is story worthy. By everyone sharing their thoughts, I learned how different people’s opinions on different subjects can vary, but how everyone’s ideas can fit into the same topic even if wildly different.
2. Describe how you approached it differently on the 2 occasions we used it.
The first time using the Padlet exercise, I jotted down every thought that came into my brain when I read the title of the topic. I did not pay too much attention to whether I would be able to obtain enough information on my ideas, and it felt more like a brainstorm than anything. The second time was more analytical. I distinguished between which of my ideas would fit the topic, and which would not. When I found an idea would not fit the topic, I crossed a line through it.
The impact of citizen journalism on media reliability has certainly increased since 2002, the year I was born. During this time, mobile phones were in no way something that were first choice for photography or videography purposes. Back then, you could buy a brick-style cell that could do no more than call, text or save contacts. Snake may have be preinstalled if you were lucky. If you were really, really lucky, your mobile may have included one back camera with quality as sharp as a WWII film. As there were no touch screens like we have today, people found it frustrating and tedious trying to jump from one application – of few- to another using a keypad. By the time anyone could manage to even open their camera, the event would have already passed. Today, I don’t even have to unlock my phone to have access to a high resolution camera in seconds.
In 2002, social media was practically unheard of. Talk of sites such as Bing began to circulate, but…Facebook? Twitter? Instagram? These are some of the biggest streaming sites for citizen journalism today, but didn’t come to light for several years down the line. This meant that if journalistic pieces were released into the media, it tended to be done through newspapers or tabloids. People who work for these are professionally trained or supervised, so there was a higher reliability in the content they produced, as opposed to today. We as a society absorb social media posts like sponges, and tend to forget that anyone has the power to spread misinformation.
As the internet was not as big of a part of our lives as it is today, many people did not allow it to consume them. In 2002, only 9.1% of the words population were internet users. This figure has shot up eighteen years later to 59%, meaning that 4.57 billion people have the ability to post whatever they see fit. (Kind of terrifying when you think about it.) It is important to remember that if you are engaging in citizen journalism, 4.57 billion people could be reading your work, so factual information is key.
Celebrities have been around for decades, but people who’s lives are dedicated to “social media influencing” have only recently became a vocation. These people are huge voices when it comes to citizen journalism – whatever they post, people eat it up. They can make a post about telling people if they buy a certain brand of tea, they’ll resemble a Victoria Secret model in 28 days. Without a doubt, the brand will be out of stock in 24 hours. People will do no further research into this fact of the “miracle” tea aiding in extreme weight loss, other than one person telling them so. Yes, similar occurrences would have happened back in the day, but with nowhere near the power that social media influencers have due to their usually large followings.
Finally, people’s mindsets have changed since the year I was born in many different aspects. As a generation, we value each other’s words, and are not as quick to judge what other people think as perhaps previous generations would have. Thus, we are more open minded towards letting people express their opinions online, but this becomes a problem when one person’s opinion offends another person’s existence.
With all great writing’s comes a great responsibility: the ability to gather ideas, and to convert these idea’s into reality. The background of an idea and where it comes from is something I had never quite focused on myself – like a lot of people, I tend to take the concept and run with it. The last thing I want is for the light bulb to blow while wondering where it came from.
According to Kirby Ferguson, a Canadian writer, there is a simple method to where these ideas truly come from. In an intriguing 4 minute video, he explains how his success is achieved by a 4 step technique. This technique includes his ideas being produced through his subconscious mind, with his conscious unknowing of where these ideas came from. The basic elements of this are “Copy, Transform and Combine”. This applies to all of us, whether the results are big or small.
Step one is to create boundaries for what you will explore. Without this, you will become “lost in the wilderness”, as stated by Ferguson. This step is not only the starting point of your idea, but I also feel the most crucial as this is what stops you from being led astray. Set a goal for which you want to find out more.
Step two is to consume everything you can with boundaries. This includes the books you read, the movies you watch, the life you experience. Your environment effects the way you think, whether you realize this or not. This is a great way to gain more knowledge about your topic.
Step three is to digest your research. This in order to make sure you understand it fully. Study the materials, organize them, arrange them into a narrative, group things together and make a map of what you’ve learnt. With these three tools, you have already created the body of your idea.
Finally, with step 4, drop it. Go outside, relax and move on. Gradually, an idea will reach you and you will be able to produce it.
I feel that this technique of creating an idea is near enough to foolproof, once executed correctly. If it fails, all you can do is try again. Pushing yourself to the max is key, and once you’ve practised this plan enough ideas will come to you freely.