Wednesday, June 24, 2009

How the Neda Video Became the Most Important Image of the Iranian Protests

Bill Mitchell, writing for Poynter, explains the impact of the video of Neda's death during a protest in Tehran has affected how news is being covered.

The mention of her name at a presidential news conference reflected the extent to which Neda Soltani had become, as Malveaux put it, "the human face" of the weekend's dramatic events in Iran.

But the brief exchange between correspondent and president also represented something of particular relevance to journalists: a big step in a process that transformed a horrible but isolated event in Iran into international news.

It's a process -- call it Next Step Journalism -- that will shape more and more of the news we need from around the block and around the globe.Journalists have relied on a process approach to writing for years.

The Next Step Journalism process practiced on the Neda story began with an event and is characterized by the collective sharing and enhancing of information.

Such a process provides lots of opportunities for journalists and non-journalists alike to assess what a story needs next, figure out what he or she is best equipped to contribute, and move the story along.

He breaks it down into seven steps: documentation, context. transmission and distribution, verification, correction, analysis and sense-making.

In his piece, Mitchell dissects the process and how a short 30-second video made from a cell phone became the journalistic focus of what could be the biggest story of the year.

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