Monday, March 14, 2011

Forget the buro? Bloggers already on the ground boost early reporting

Today's New York Times looks at a quiet trend in journalism that's thrown into high relief by major disasters, protests and other types of unrest in distant parts of the globe: the rise of early reporting from bloggers already in place in far-flung locations. The piece focuses on Global Voices, a platform with 300 volunteer bloggers outside the U.S. Says co-founder Ethan Zuckerman: “Our goal is to give you the voices of the people in a country like Tunisia, day in and day out, whether they are cementing rebellion or talking about local news and sports scores....We don’t parachute in. We are there all the time."

The shuttering of foreign bureaus of U.S. news organizations and resulting use of more independent journalists to report foreign stories have been known for some time. (Domestically, news organizations have scaled back other bureaus, including those in Washington.) As a result, even news organizations rely on those early tweets and blob posts from eyewitnesses and are weaving them into their stories when unrest occurs.

All the more reason, communicators, for you to build solid relationships with your local bloggers, no matter what their subject is--you never know when they'll come in handy, and they may be placing the first phone calls you field in an emergency.

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