DIY news: Iran’s fuzzy, chopped-up, blurry media revolution
This on-the-ground, fuzzy YouTube was posted from what looks like Tehran today by “mz3638,” with the unsearchable date-edition title: “18062009003.” If it’s still below that means it has escaped the reported “disappeared” fate met today by similar videos. The mz3638 video informs us that the Iranian streets are alive, that the protest movement continues… Or maybe not. YouTube commenters are asking what anyone watching the video for news value wants to know: When was it actually shot? And less urgent: What is the protesting crowd chanting?
Does anyone recognize the street? Can anyone translate?
The Iranian protests are a news and a media phenomenon partly because no news people are there! Is that a good thing or a bad thing? What we’re witnessing — and a part of, too, on a new level — is the choppiest, fuzziest, blurred, most 140-character-ized international news event in history. And that’s part of the reason it’s impossible to turn away from.
Former NPR host and journalist and media analyst Farai Chideya did a great job yesterday of relating her own compelled dizziness in grappling with what it all means for people like her:
Okay, so I must admit to some confusion over what the heck we journalists are doing with the concept of verification in this new age of Twitter news. Don’t get me wrong. I am not anti-Twitter. At this point in the infosphere that would be like, say, being “anti-oxygen.” You can choose that stance right now, but Twitter is the oxygen in social networking and information distribution online right now. Question though: how do we use it? I’ll be real: have we lost our ever-loving minds trying to pretend we know what’s going on in 140 words or less… especially when it comes to geopolitics…specifically Iran?
Her paragraph reads the way the mz3638 video looks. We’re getting news and thoughts on the news without packaging. For days now it has been just digital raw material. YouTubes and hashtag tweets. Mass media is inadequate. Networked media is the thing. We’re witnessing a kind of farmers-market-style future news today.