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User-Generated Content (UGC) in emergencies

After reading the Cooper (2020) chapters and reviewing the PowerPoint and video, utilize these materials to describe what you see as benefits and risks with User-Generated Content (UGC) in emergencies, disasters or humanitarian crises. What could be some of the ethical issues that journalists or other stakeholders may confront with UGC and how could it impact news coverage and audiences?

Then, the remainder of the discussion post will involve observation activity on Twitter. If you don’t have a Twitter account, you can create one or you can use someone else’s because this is strictly an observation exercise. (I have put directions in the resources section of this week. Contact me, please, if this is an issue for you, and I will walk you through setting up an account. It may be that the account is public and you do not need to be on Twitter to see it.)

1) Choose a news organization (or a journalist) that has (ideally) reported on a crises in the country you are doing your project on and find their Twitter handle.
2) Choose an aid / humanitarian / or intergovernmental-type (UNHCR, for example) organization from the list provided (under materials for the discussion) and find that group’s account on Twitter.
3) Choose from the list of media development organizations and locate the Twitter account.

Provide an analysis of how the tweets are different (and/or similar). Use tweets as examples. To what extent is User-Generated Content used? For NGOs, including media development/advocacy groups, and UN-type organizations, is there evidence of collective action or social media campaigns that appear aimed at social change for the better during a humanitarian crises/disaster/emergency? Is there any government shaming
going on? Appeal to public emotion?

Include in this post, some examples of UGC and type


Sample Solution

User-Generated Content (UGC) in emergencies

An argument that the trend witnessed in the attacks has been propagated by the media through a continued mediatization of the victimizer who in most casesand through User-Generated Content (UGC) in emergencies turns out to be al-Shabaab – the Somali based extremist group that has destabilized Somali and is attempting the same on Kenya – has  abound. According to Kibet (2015), the continued mediatization of the victimizer (al-Shabaab) has eventually portrayed the outlawed group as strong and well organized with their attacks often well orchestrated that they overwhelm the Kenyan security. This in turn motivates the attackers to continue with their attack to gain a global appreciation as well as prove their might. This could have been what motivated the signing of the new security laws of Kenya.

What is User-Generated Content (UGC)

According to Krotz (2009) mediatization is a gradual yet steady emergence and institutionalization of media in an ongoing, historical and long term process. It is a process that makes communication dependent and referring to media such that the media becomes a central player in individuals’ construction society, daily life and culture in general. Actually, the experience of crises, disasters and issues and the important facets of these situations in the current society are constructed by and propagated through the media – referred in the scholarly paradigms as the mediatization of crises. In addition, the mediatized communication logic (media logic) impacts on how the public comprehend through communication and experience the disaster as victims, victimizers, bystanders or witnesses (Hjarvard, 2008).

In this paper, the theme of mediatization takes central stage. However, a practical perspective is taken to understand the process and trend of crises meditization in Kenya taking a case study of a particular local crisis. The chosen local crisis where User-Generated Content (UGC) in emergencies is  vital is the Mpeketoni attack where about 50 gunmen raided the coastal town of Mpeketoni and killed over 67 victims, maimed many other and destroyed a great amount of property between 15 June and 17 June of 2014. This case is important as it shows just how much the media can construct the paradigms of public discussions on a crisis singling out either the victim or the victimizer as an important player in the crisis. It is important to note that the Mpeketoni case was an outright negligence of the victims by the media with a resounding focus on the victimizer. Political rhetoric and debate was thus designed to concentrate around the victimizer and so the public gradually yet surely forgot about the victims and concentrate on the “who did it?” question. This according to analysts made the victimizers more important that the victims, a fact that sold the probable agenda of the assailants.

How can User-Generated Content (UGC)  help in emergencies

With this knowledge, the paper will thus analyses the mediatization process of the victimizer in the Mpeketoni attack while taking a brief exploration of the negligence of the victims by the media (at least at the on-set of the crisis reporting). It then explores how these decisions by the media influenced and shaped public debate, policy making and comprehension of the whole attack. The paper begins by giving a comprehensive background of the Mpeketoni attack followed by a review of literature on the conceptualization and process of crisis mediatization with a focus on theoretical perceptions, consensus and disagreements as well as the implications of these on crisis communication management. The paper then proceeds to discuss the findings from video analyses and culminates in a conclusion that summarizes the overarching themes in the study.

This study is very vital to any media student or practitioner. It emphasizes the fact that media has a great influence in shaping the contemporary world to the extent that vital themes of discussion and decisions in the public sphere are literally dependent it. It thus, albeit indirectly, inform the centrality of ethical yet objective reporting by the media. The paper also insinuates that although mediatization is here to stay, the media fraternity must be careful on “how” and not only “what” they report, as they “how” of their reporting is vital in shaping public reaction on the matter as well as paint the significant player in a crisis. It will thus give the student a pragmatic feel of some facets of the complexities of reporting a story to the public.