Crisis Mapping Mainstream Media, Citizen Journalism, and Ushanidi during Post Election Violence in Kenya
October 30th, 2008

After posing the question “Are citizen journalists playing an increasingly important role in documenting violent conflict and human rights violations?” at the 2008 Global Voices Summit, Peter Meier, along with his colleague Kate Brodock mapped the crisis in Kenya to give weight to his affirmative answer to that question.

Their prelim finding were:

* Mainstream media reported actual death count before citizen journalists; however, on many accounts, mainstream media did not report on incidents leading to actual deaths, i.e., early warning signs;
* Citizen journalist reports and Ushahidi reports did not overlap geographically with mainstream media reports;
* Citizen journalists tended to report as soon as violence started, well before mainstream media;
* The number of comments on citizen journalist blogs increased during the 30-day period, or during particular periods of violence;
* The comment section was also used as a medium for real-time updating;
* Many citizen journalist bloggers used real-time updates sent to them via SMS, primarily from rural areas;
* Citizen journalism reports declined after the launch of Ushahidi;
* Ushahidi reports document an important number of violent events not reported by the mainstream media and citizen journalists;
* Contrary to news media and citizen journalist reports, Ushahidi data always had specific location information;
* Ushahidi reports also covered a wider geographical area than both mainstream news and citizen journalist bloggers

They are looking for feedback in order to improve the project, so please contact them if you’d like to help. You can find more information including a PDF on Slideshare.


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