Getting the News out of Iran, on Twitter

What’s my sweetspot for news?  Where foreign affairs meets Web 2.0.  And there’s a great one today – Iranian protesters using Twitter to get updates out to the world.

Here’s a link to the top citizen-reporters on Twitter, which is absolutely a-flutter (lame pun, excuse me) with #IranElection updates.  Once again, if you aren’t on Twitter, shame on you.

The Atlantic’s Daily Dish blog is doing a great job of posting updates as they come in.  

Ahmadenijad’s forces are doing all they can to shut down social media communication channels; Facebook and YouTube have both been blocked in Tehran.

Kudos to the major news sites (such as The Atlantic) who are leveraging these channels to spread the information.

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UPDATE:  Just came across a great NY Times article – Real Time Criticism of CNN’s Iran Coverage.  Seems the Twittersphere was unhappy with CNN’s lack of coverage on the Iran situation.  Here’s a block quote from the article:

Untold thousands used the label “CNNfail” on Twitter to vent their frustrations. Steve LaBate, an Atlanta resident, said on Twitter, “Why aren’t you covering this with everything you’ve got?” About the same time, CNN was showing a repeat of Larry King’s interview of the stars of the “American Chopper” show. For a time, new criticisms were being added on Twitter at least once a second.

Andrew Sullivan, a blogger for The Atlantic, wrote, “There’s a reason the MSM is in trouble,” using the blogosphere abbreviation for mainstream media.

I’m not going to enter into a debate on Twitter/socialmedia vs. MSM, since I don’t believe it’s a one-versus-the-other battle.  But seeing Twitter’s citizen reporters/watchdogs play a role and actually influence mainstream media coverage?  This I like.  Integrating socialmedia into MSM makes sense to me.

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UPDATE 2:  I just came across this Tweet, from @persiankiwi: I am accessing twitter from 148.233.239.24 Port:80 in tehran. you can avoid gov filters from here. spread. #Iranelection

Since Ahmadinejad has been trying to block Twitter users and other citizen-reporters from spreading news about the post-election protests and clashes, @PersianKiwi is one of many Twitter users working hard to get around the censors and continue reporting (via Twitter).

I’ll stop updating at this point, but I hope that more MSM attention gets directed towards the role that socialmedia has played over the past two days in Iran.  Let’s start realizing the true potential of these tools.

If you want to follow for yourself, here’s one final source:  Global Voices has some great citizen-reporter coverage, including YouTube videos, here.

Here’s one such video:

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UPDATE 3:  Alright, one more, just because it’s that good. 

Here’s a BBC article titled “Internet Brings Events in Iran to Life”, which details how the main socialmedia outlets have been breaking the news.  Scroll through, there’s tons of great content.

All of this has me thinking about a recent article I read, wherein Malcolm Gladwell stated that “you can’t start blogging at 23 and call yourself a journalist.”  Two points on this.  1)  Damnit.  2) Why not?

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