OPINION

From Blogging to Vlogging, Fresh Voices Add Perspective

If the mainstream media are feeling the pressure from infonews sites and blogs, B-b-b-baby, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet, to quote the words of rock group BTO.

I’m talking about indie ‘Net journalists taking over from the scribes of yesteryear with straight-up reporting, untainted by corporate self-interests.

P2pnet was one of the first sites to feature RSS (Really Simple Syndication), and now it’s about to start video blogging. Charbax, whose beat is “around Europe, mostly between Denmark and Switzerland,” recently vlogged the IFA consumer electronic show in Berlin. So, “How about becoming p2pnet’s roving video reporter?” we asked him. “Cool! That sounds great,” he said. “You could then link directly to the BitTorrent file that’s the high definition video from within the news article.”

Fair and Balanced

Home-based ‘Net reporters have shown many hitherto respected members of the world print media to be blatantly unfair and unbalanced. And the same applies to the electronic media. But just as important, home-spun reporters can come up with news stories that are substantially more relevant than the all-too-often distorted output from traditional sources.

The Heckler proved that when U.S. president — sorry, I mean, vice president Dick Cheney was being clever in Gulfport, Mississippi, one of the communities stuck by Hurricane Katrina.

Filmed by CNN, he was telling reporters just how much the feds were doing to help victims when a voice from the crowd suggested he go and f*ck himself. Someone asked, “Are you getting a lot of that Mr. Vice President?” Cheney replied, “First time I’ve heard it. Must be a friend of John…, er, ah — never mind.” There’s nothing like a little tasteless political point-scoring in an emergency, and the media reps cracked up.

To raise some sorely needed funds, The Heckler, himself a Katrina victim, later tried to sell a video one of his friends had made of the scene on eBay.

When he and his friend later returned home, “We were salvaging the few things we could and about 10 minutes or so later two MP’s waving M-16’s showed up at my former house,” he says. “They said they were looking for someone who fit my description who had cursed at the VP. I told them I was probably the person they were looking for and so they put me in handcuffs and ‘detained’ me for about 20 minutes or so.

“My right thumb went numb because the cuffs were on so tight but they were fairly courteous and eventually released me after getting all my contact info. They said I had NOT broken any laws so I was free to go.”

Fresh Voices

eBay cancelled the auction three times for reasons unstated but at the time of writing, it was online again. Apparently, “a lot of people don’t want my video to ever see the light of day so it was deleted once again,” says Ben Marble a.k.a. The Heckler. “I will once again attempt to repost this and I will keep cutting/pasting each time they delete it until I have complied with all their rules.”

You may be thinking The Heckler is just a loud-mouth with no appreciation for all that’s being done. In fact, Marble’s a highly respected young emergency room doctor.

Meanwhile, Norway’s Raymond Kristiansen, a member of the country’s Liberal party, is another example of what vloggers can achieve.

His D-L-T-Q stands for Don’t Lose the Question and as he “weaves quickly in and out of the crowds of locals and tourists on the streets of Bergen, he’s, “constantly on the prowl for footage,” says the BBC.

Nine parties are competing for votes and Kristiansen, 27, is turning his camcorder on politicians, ahead of Norwegian parliamentary elections on Monday, says the story.

“We don’t need the mainstream media to tell us what’s interesting anymore,” he’s quoted as saying. “Millions of people want to tell their stories, and with video-blogging, they can tell their stories.”


Jon Newton, a TechNewsWorld columnist, founded and runs p2pnet.net, based in Canada, a daily peer-to-peer and digital media news site focused on issues surrounding file sharing, the entertainment industry and distributed computing.


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