“It’s total chaos over here. Army and Navy have been called in to assist police. The attackers are everywhere – in hotels, on the streets, in vans. They are firing indiscriminately.”
“there was just another blast at the Old Taj, the whole thing is surrounded by smoke as I type this. and 2 terrorists just been shot dead by the police.”
Using free social media tools, the South Asian Journalist’s Association (SAJA) has achieved a sense of immediacy and urgency in their reporting on the Mumbai terror attacks. The coverage includes forums (from which the two lead quotes are taken), online radio, resource pages, Twitter and Facebook pages, and a media critique. http://tinyurl.com/6ywvhg
It is hugely affecting. Is it journalism?
My take is that, while it is not traditionally sourced and vetted, it is valid as crisis journalism. SAJA has used social media technologies to surround the story and solicit multiple viewpoints, from bystanders tweeting in the city, to experts all over the world versed in Mumbai’s political and social intricacies. Users on the forums are posting links to mainstream media coverage as well as personal accounts. The story is messy, and we need to assemble it ourselves, but it is there for us to find – and in a disaster situation, a great volume of constantly-updated information can be more valuable than one well-edited piece that tries to encompass the event.
However, I thought this piece was also interesting. Based on the level of discourse on the SAJA Twitter feed, the author argues that Mumbai can teach us all some lessons in responsible tweeting. Essentially, she urges “citizen journalists” to act a little more like the pros. http://tinyurl.com/5p8cyk