Why Charities are Embracing Online Video Journalism

It’s not just the media that’s embracing cheaper forms of broadcasting video journalism content. There is a whole wave of new age charities embracing not only social media but also online video journalism, capitalising on the latest, cheapest broadcast platform.

Non-profit organizations have quickly cottoned onto the social media trend as a hugely beneficial tool for communicating their cause to anyone connected to the internet which is estimated to be 1,407,724,920 people or around 21% of the world’s population.

Not only have charity campaigns flooded social networking sites like Facebook and YouTube, these organizations have increasingly embraced the use of online video journalism to advertise their campaigns in an extremely cost effective way.

Case Study 1: Oxfam

Oxfam has a section of its website devoted to campaign videos. Oxfam also has dedicated YouTube channels – Oxfam America and Oxfam Great Britain. Oxfam says that by letting people ‘see it, share it and change it’, they can help fight poverty and injustice by spreading the word using new media platforms. The channels feature videos about many of the charity’s different operations around the world. Check out this video below featuring a report on coffee giant Starbucks and its economic relationship with coffee farmers in Africa.

Case Study 2: Unicef

Unicef has a section of its website totally dedicated to blogs about their different campaigns. They also have a section just for Audio and Video. And of course they have a YouTube channel where Unicef TV is broadcast to its millions of viewers. Check out this report below on the increasing number of families crossing the border into Tunisia to escape the current crisis in Libya.

Case Study 3: Greenpeace

Greenpeace has a section of its website which showcases campaign promos, animations and video blogs. The organisation encourages other groups or individuals to spread the videos by embedding them on other websites. The channel has thousands of subscribers and has had over 13,850,000 channels views.

The video below is about a Chinese photographer Lu Guang. He documented the oil spill at the city of Dalian for Greenpeace. His pictures depict the death of firefighter Zhang Liang and won him a World Press Photo award in 2011. The online videos Greenpeace produces are of high quality both technically and journalistically, often covering very newsworthy stories from the corners of the globe.



Given that large charities such as the NSPCC spends millions on advertising on TV, it’s more than likely they will increasingly rely on the internet as a cheaper, faster and in some cases more accessibly media platform.


Natasha Malcolm-Brown


Yesterday’s Television, Today’s Online, Tomorrow’s Disposable News

Last year’s Leaders debate attracted 4.1 million viewers across Sky News, BBC News Channel and Sky3, but online streams only attracted 300,000 viewers. And yet, during the festive period there, 145 million web surfers checked in at Hotel BBC iPlayer! With youtube hosting 93 online news channels, why are we still turning on the box?

In this digital age, are we still dragging our feet across the analogue field of television, or do news junkies keep up to date via online videos? Nick Kwek investigates…

Zoe Morris watches mainly music videos online and would only choose to watch news online if there was a big story already established to follow. Not exactly one for online breaking news.

Josh Cheesman relies on youtube for amusing videos and subscribes to feeds and forums for updates. He feels news feeds are best watched on the official BBC and Sky News websites. A trusted news website suits him best.

Siobhan Schwartzberg chooses to look up youtube for individual speeches, or special packages. She wouldn’t log onto the BBC website for individual news packages, but rather prefers watching entire news programs. – something perhaps more comfortably done via television.

AH! Sorry about the lighting Tony. Alas, a peril of mobile shooting! Tony relies on BOTH television and the internet: the BBC website and Yahoo are his poison of choice for current affairs news feeds.

Okay, so these participants are hardly a broad spectrum of our society, but they are genuine case studies and they do give us various opinions about watching news online. Surprisingly, only Josh regularly watches news online as a principal source for his current affairs, but this is not so shocking when we bear in mind the statistics. Check this out, as shown by a BBC conducted study:

Only 1 in 10 people say they watch online video once a week, with a whopping 67% saying that they “NEVER and CANNOT conceive watching online TV in the future”! But, it appears as if they may not have a choice in the matter, with advertisers steadily spending billions online rather than television. Since 2007 in fact, there has been a fall in the number of television viewers and a marked rise in the number of viewers online:

Online figures have almost tripled in 4 years.

The obvious advantage for watching content online is that you can watch it any time you wish; day or night, you can still access the same material broadcast via television earlier that day or indeed before it is broadcast. You can watch it for as long as you like, there is always a pause button, and you can go back and watch it as many times as you wish. But whilst it may be a good thing that people are keeping up to date online at various instances throughout the day, is this not impinging on the quality of the news uploaded, and are we appreciating and taking it in as much as we should, knowing full well that disposable news is at our fingertips?!


Citizen journalism: the need for curation and the success story of storyful

By H.W.

The first three months of 2011 haven’t exactly been quiet for global news organisations. The protests that began in Tunisia have spread all across the Arab world to Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, Jordan and even Syria, a place where any kind of anti-government action would have been unthinkable even a month ago. Add to this the biggest earthquake since records began in Japan, and the subsequent Tsunami which has so far claimed the lives of 11,000 people (and counting), and you have one of the most extraordinary annual quarters in the history of modern news.

It’s not only the fact that these stories are so huge, but that they are also incredibly fast-moving. As well as a lot of “business” for news organisations, this unique combination of global events has also provided opportunities for new outfits to take advantage of the current hunger for news.

Step forward Storyful, a web curation site which has this as its mission statement:

“Storyful’s golden rule is there is ALWAYS someone closer to the story. And in the last few months, we’ve worked with people at the heart of the action, capturing turning points in history in words, pictures and video.

Sometimes our sources are local journalists, amateur photographers, or filmmakers. But often the people with the best view of the action are citizens in the right place at the right time.

We believe that there’s a good chance that person is you.”


The storyful homepage, where you can click through to all of the day's biggest stories.

One of the most striking things about the way that events in Japan and the Middle East have played out in the media has been the prevalence of “citizen journalism” in so much of the coverage. More people than ever have the equipment (all you need is a decent camera phone) and the connectivity (a 3G phone) to record and share the events that are happening around them.

But, however good the videos and other content which citizen journalists are uploading to the net is, none of it really has an impact unless people get to watch it. That’s where Storyful comes in. Because they are not a traditional news organisation, they are able to focus 100 % on finding, and then curating the best stuff that has been posted online. And it’s not just about getting one viral video hit, and then putting their feet up for the day. Storyful tries to keep up with the story, and to gather the most important content on one news story all in one place. And that’s where it finds its niche. It is the fastest news organisation I have come across in terms of CURATING content that is already out there.

For example, if I’m following the events unfolding in Syria, I could do one of three things:

1) go to the website of a traditional news organisation, like the BBC . This would be the slowest, but most trustworthy way of getting the information I was looking for.

2) Go on twitter, and find results for Syria in realtime. If I wanted to find videos about Syria fastest, then this would be the best option. But the wealth of information and links on twitter can be overwhelming.

3) Go to Storyful and see what their latest content is. For me, this a great halfway house for people who want stories quicker than traditional news organisations can deliver them (because of the fact that they have more stringent verification procedures) and who also want someone else to do the hard work of finding the most recent popular virals on a particular subject.

I would seriously recommend going to Storyful and checking it out. It’s the best site I’ve found for keeping up with events in the Middle East, and it’s great at organising stories into different categories (e.g. Libya, Syria, Japan, Royal Wedding). The interface is really clean and simple, which makes it easy to take in the information.

If you’re not satisfied by reading their curated stories, you can also make your own. Go over to the Storyful community page, and you can start your own story, complete with tweets, youtube embeds and your own text.

Andrew Lansley – It’s a RAP!

I was astonished the other day to walk past my dad’s study and hear some hardcore rap beats pumping out of there. Now my dad is quite big on his music but I have never heard him listening to rap before. So I went inside to investigate and found him watching Loughborough rapper MC NxtGen’s video slating Andrew Lansley and his NHS reforms.

Now as a surgeon working in the NHS, it is a subject that is very important to my father but I still didn’t expect him to be watching a video such as this and enjoying it. I mean he could understand the quick flow of MC NxtGen and was left in stitches by his clever word play and well produced video.

MC NxtGen (real name Sean Donelly) has found himself a viral YouTube and Twitter celebrity after posting his video just over a week ago. Since then it has amassed over 150,000 views and seen Sean whose day job is as a binman featured in the Guardian and the BBC News website.

The song has it all, brilliant lyrics over a sample from one of my favourite songs, The House of the Rising Sun and a well shot, funny video. The rap features some great lines including, “The NHS is not for sale, you grey-haired manky codger!” with the hook repeating over again, “ Andrew Lansley, GREEDY, Andrew Lansley, TOSSER!” However what makes this rap so good is that NxtGen has done his research and knows his stuff.

Now as the state of the NHS is something that interests me, I have done a lot of research into it before for a documentary I made, but I found the way that NxtGen explained it in three minutes, was better than any politician or even NHS staff member managed in more than thirty when I spoke to them.

Take these lines for example, “So the budget of the PCTs, he wants to hand to the GPs / Oh please. Dumb geeks are gonna buy from any willing provider, / Get care from private companies.”

“These plans have been slammed by patient organizations/ Charities, unions, nursing and medical institutions/ The Royal College of GP’s even joined the attack/ Looked closely at the proposals/ and said they were crap.”

MC NxtGen

NxtGen has tapped into a deep well of feeling amongst the British people of uncertainty and wariness of these reforms. The idea for the rap actually came about because he has family and friends who hope to work in the NHS but are worried by the cuts. So in his own way NxtGen decided to do something about it, and to speak out and judging by the rapidly increasing number of viewers every day to his video, the comments left and his growing Facebook and Twitter pages it seems a lot of people agree with him.

Even Andrew Lansley himself couldn’t help but admire the 22 year old whilst still trying to defend his policies. The Health Secretary said, “We will never privatize the NHS but I’m impressed that he’s managed to get lyrics about GP commissioning into a rap.”

For me this video goes to show that video journalism can come in many different forms, our hands are not just tied by a strict news package type formula. MC NxtGen gives us his take on the story in an informative and entertaining way through the power of music accompanied with a video that would not look out of place on MTV.

In the rap world, when one rapper releases a song ‘dissing’ another then the other rapper usually releases his own diss record in response and the ensuing ‘beef’ can engulf the entire music industry – think Biggie and Tupac. So we all wait anxiously for MC Lansley’s musical retort.

Andrew Lansley being told somebody has beef with him

I think we may be waiting a while.

You can view MC NxtGen’s Facebook page here, and follow him on Twitter here. He is hoping for the Andrew Lansley Rap to be released on iTunes in the coming days.

Yianni Meleagros

Experts in journalism on video journalism! Vol I

Online video journalism is growing and developing on a daily basis. There are now countless websites for online video journalists to upload their work. TV channels used citizen and online video journalism on a regular basis when it comes to natural disasters like the earthquake in Japan, and political unrests in Libya and Bahrain. It was only through these videos that the world got to see the devastating images.

I wanted to know what journalists in the field and other media experts think  of online video journalism and where they see it in a few years.

I was lucky enough to be able to interview a journalist for The Guardian for my first post.

Tom Rogan is a Guardian Comment Contributor and writes about US politics and social security. He is also an expert in Middle East politics and war studies.

I wanted to find out what Tom thinks about Online Video Journalism and get his take on the future of online video news.

JD: What do you think of online video journalism?

TR: I believe that online video journalism is an incredibly important and powerful tool for the free and effective movement of information.

JD: How has online video changed over the years for you?

TR: Over the past few years, online video journalism from grass roots sources (the man/woman on the street) has helped to shape global attitudes and responses to some of the most important events in recent history. The opposition protest movements in 2009 Iran and later Tunisia, Egypt and Libya and the citizens of Japan who were effected by the March 2011 Tsunami, all made great use of online video to document and help shape international engagement with their situations.

JD: Do you produce online videos or watch them yourself?

TR: As I part time journalist I have personally come to rely upon online video reporting to provide insight into often rapidly evolving events. These events just a few years ago could only really be studied (at least in the short term) by organised media reports.

JD: Where do you see online video in the future?

TR: Fortunately, as Internet connectivity grows and as the tools of online journalism grow cheaper and more accessible, the power of this journalism avenue will multiply many times over. By empowering the individual to directly report on what he or she witnesses or believes, video journalism creates centers of living knowledge that empower all of us to quickly engage with circumstances around the world and to great effect. This is an evolution in journalism that is both exciting and encouraging.

If you want to read more about Tom Rogan’s work go here.

Jil D.


LiveLeak – for citizen and video journalist!

LiveLeak is a video sharing website, that exists since October 2006, where users post and share videos. The videos uploaded to LiveLeak are to do with politics – mainly Middle Eastern affairs (Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran are their own category), current events and reality-based footage such as war scenes. The footages are often combined with citizen journalism, making this site brutally honest with its content. News reporters can use this site to bypass official statements and records and address the actual situation in the conflicted countries.

As honest as LiveLeaks may be, it often contains immense cruelty and violence shot by citizens. Under Your Say, on the site, video journalists in conflict share their experiences with the world. Very often these videos will raise heated debates between users. See a video on the Iranian protest movements documenting their experiences here.

Co-founder, Hayden Hewitt, has defended violent videos on the site by saying: “Look all this is happening, this is real life, this is going on, we’re going to show it.”

This video shows a protestor in Libya getting shot on the 15h of February.

LiveLeak also has a point system meant to motivate users to deliver positive contributions, where any kind of hate speech, propaganda or spam will lead to point subtraction or deletion.

LiveLeak shot to fame in 2007 when White House Press Secretary Tony Snow and Former PM Tony Blair mentioned the site after it leaked the execution of Saddam Hussein. At first, politicians seemed worried that LiveLeak could be used as a tool of propaganda by terrorists but now they have embraced the site and even spread their own messages about the war in Iraq and other unrests since then.

This video shows the latest footage of Fukushima shot from a helicopter and was leaked to LiveLeak 4 hours ago.

If you want to share your online videos with LiveLeak you have to become a member. Although you will retain the rights to your videos the site can use your content for any purposes they like. Many of the videos posted on LiveLeak are used by news channels such as Channel 4.

Jil D.

The impact of Video Journalism in the Arab uprisings: part 1 of a 2 part report

By Hugo Williams


On the 17th December 2010, when Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire in front of a Tunisian police station, the world changed forever. Bouazizi’s death, which was seen in Tunisia as a symbol of the desperation which they so many felt under the autocratic regime of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali , lit the touch paper for a revolution which spread far beyond one country’s borders.

Since then, Egypt has overthrown its own longstanding tyrant in its struggle for democracy, and there has been continuous (and ongoing) unrest all across the Arab world: Yemen, Bahrain, Jordan, Syria, and of course Lybia, where Britain, France and the US are currently enforcing a no-fly zone to protect Libyan citizens from Colonel Gadaffi’s attempt to quash the revolution.

The revolutionary contagion spreading across the Middle East has been blamed (or credited, depending which angle you’re coming from) on many things: repressive regimes which deny their people freedom; a huge population of young people who feel frustrated and let down by their leaders,; and finally, the rise of social media, which has allowed people to share information and organise themselves online, in a way that would simply not have been possible even two years ago.

But referring simply to “social media” as being the catalyst for these uprisings is too broad. It’s not just the messages that people have been able to send each other, arranging where to meet, or gathering so many people online that they are able to develop a critical mass, so that they can be sure of safety in numbers before even heading out onto the streets.

One of the things that galvanised people most into acting was the fact that VIDEOS of different protests were available online so quickly after the event. People could see with their own eyes what was happening. This was especially true when it came to government’s attempts to crack down on protests.  For example, the footage of an Egyptian police van deliberately accelerating as it entered a crowd of protesters, running over several people, demonstrated in one 10 second clip the brutality that the Mubarak regime was prepared to use to suppress its own people.

The use of online video to document abuses by different governments during the Arab uprisings has been instrumental in forming opinion not only among people in those countries, but also in the international community. Which in Libya’s case has made all the difference.

So surely this can only be a good thing, spreading information and calling governments to account? What harm could it possibly do? Read on for the counterargument in part 2..