Citizen Journalists Watch over Communities with their News Reporting(2009/12)

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After Typhoon Morakot caused severe damage to southern Taiwan on Aug. 8, news stations ran tickers to urge members of the public to upload footages of typhoon damages to the news stations for broadcast. This concept of citizen journalism is not new to PeoPo, the on-line citizen journalism platform. For over two years, PeoPo has acquired the services of more than 3,000 citizen journalists, all of whom are concerned about the well-being of their communities and have dedicated long-term to participatory journalism.


(Caption) A bridge was damaged and vehicle turned upside down as Typhoon Morakot buffets Chiahsing Village at Taiwu Township and Laiyi Township in Pingtung County. (Footage uploaded by citizen journalist Djakudjakuc at noon of Aug. 8)

As heavy rains brought about by Typhoon Morakot started to pour on Aug. 7, citizen journalists in southern Taiwan started to post images and report on PeoPo that parts of Tainan had begun to flood. In a true manifestation of the power of participatory journalism, these non-professional journalists captured scenes of the overflowing Tsengwen Reservoir, the precarious situation at Laiyi Township in Pingtung County, and landslides at the Chungpu Village in Chiayi County, all before the traditional media did.

As reports of typhoon-inflicted damages continue after Aug. 8, a section dedicated to reporting damages at flood-stricken areas was set up at the PeoPo platform, with hourly updates from citizen journalists. More than 100 news articles and footages were posted on the section in just a few days after the flood. The People Post also set up recording facilities at its media office to immediately disseminate reports and observations gathered by citizen journalists.

More heart-warming was not the reporting itself, but the actions taken by citizen journalists on the PeoPo platform to collect pertinent information and help gather relief items. For instance, citizen journalist Freda drove five hours to bring relief goods to the Namaxia tribe in Kaohsiung County, all the while recording her efforts on film. Journalists from PeoPo also reported on volumes of instant noodles donated to residents in the mountain regions of Kaohsiung. But because the residents were without water and electricity, they were unable to consume the noodles, which resulted in huge inventory of instant noodles stocked in a local shelter. These were but a few reports on the observations made by citizen journalists.

 
(From: PeoPo Special Report on Typhoon Morakot)

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