For Citizen Journalists, Digital Tools Give Real-Time Voice

While I was watching President Obama speak last night, I was struck by the thought that his speech was likely being broadcast on UStream, Twittered about, clips posted to Facebook and the like.

This morning, I came across a great post from the PopTech blog about the use of social media tools by citizen journalists to reports on crises worldwide, including humanitarian ones.

President Obama doesn't have to worry about not getting a camera pointed in his direction -- his speeches inspire thousands, probably millions of tweets. Others worldwide do not have this rapt attention.

Here's how they're getting their voices heard (all information below from PopTech blog, as posted by Kate Brodock, founder of the Other Side Group):

CrisisWire: Officially launched in late Fall 2008, Crisiswire is the brain child of Nate Ritter, who popularized the hashtag on Twitter. During the San Diego fires of 2007, he used #sandiegofire to document his experience and offer on-the-ground updates during the crisis. This combined with Twitter's various search capabilities enabled people in the area to receive pertinent information about what was happening in real-time.

Ushahidi: Meaning ''testimony'' in Swahili, this website was developed to map reports of violence in Kenya after the post-election fallout at the beginning of 2008. Ushahidi's roots are in the collaboration of Kenyan citizen journalists during a time of crisis. Follow them on Twitter.

DigiActive: This all-volunteer organization is dedicated to helping grassroots activists around the world use the Internet and mobile phones to increase their impact. Their goal is a world of activists made more powerful and more effective through the use of digital technology.

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