What happens when ordinary people get caught in the wrath of mother nature? For many their first instinct is to run but there will always be a number of thrill seekers who attempt to film events and get as close as possible to the scenes unfolding in front of their very eyes. Danger suddenly does not seem as worrying when a camera is being used.
They’ll risk their lives in order to get footage of large scale natural disasters. If they succeed and manage to survive this footage can become worth a lot of money. In some respects it can be considered a sport and the bravest citizen journalist will win big if they live through the disaster.
Luke Goode describes citizen journalism as ‘a range of web-based practices whereby ‘ordinary’ users engage in journalistic practices. Citizen journalism includes practices such as current affairs-based blogging, photo and video sharing, and posting eyewitness commentary on current events’.
Boxing day 2004, an earth shattering tsunami occurred at 00:58:53 UTC on island of Thailand. The undersea megathrust earthquake was caused when the Indian Plate was subducted by the Burma Plate and triggered a series of devastating tsunamis along the coasts of most landmasses bordering the Indian Ocean, killing 230,000–280,000 people in 14 countries. It was one of the deadliest natural disasters in recorded history.
As with all natural disasters, masses of people attempted to flee from the enormous wave but a handful decided to capture video of this reckless force so the western world could also experience the enormity of what was happening in Thailand. Since the disaster, there are many pictures and videos on the web and without citizen journalism the event would not be documented as well as it is. Foreign news reporters would not have been able to video live footage and it would have taken days to report the true extent of the tsunami as conditions would have been too dangerous for travel.
One video in particular (with the largely unneeded added effect of dramatic music) is a vital piece of citizen journalism from the day the tsunami struck.It shows various scenes of destruction and the disturbing image of a man on the beach being swallowed by the massive wave. It gives us the chance view the immediate impact of the tsunami and witness the true power of nature.
This piece of citizen journalism is key in helping us to remember the events that took place on boxing day, it highlights the mass destruction and loss experienced by the people of Thailand. Citizen journalist are essential when something unplanned like the tsunami happens as they capture the true, unedited events that take place when mother nature strikes.
- Goode, Luke. “Social News, Citizen Journalism and Democracy.” New Media & Society 11.8 (2009): 1287-1305.