Some of you might know that before coming to Columbia University, I was a television news journalist. No, not one of the guys on camera, but a producer, the person who makes ALL the decisions about what stories go into the newscast, and how they are treated. For that hour (or 1/2 hour) long newscast (don’t say “show” it’s insulting) the producer is king.
So with all my experience and drive to stay neutral and get the story “right,” the notion that you can use cameras for peace was a stretch.
Video advocacy is exactly that, using videos to make a point, and in Conflict Resolution and Peace Studies that means helping the world. Several groups support this idea, some even have toolkits to help get you started.
One of the most famous is this video about Joseph Kony. It went viral with a huge number of hits. But some people had issues with the film. Kony is still active but is rumored to be in talks regarding his possible surrender.
Did a video do this? Hard to say, but it certainly raised awareness of who this man is and what he has done.
On the heels of the Kony 2012 video, other groups have started pointing their cameras at things other than house-fires. Some send cameras and staff to remote parts of the world to help locals, as you see here.
Others produced professional broadcast quality videos outlining human rights abuses close to home. And after talking with the producers of “Walking Merchandise” it’s make me think twice about Chinese restaurants, and who may be serving or cooking for me.
Most of us have phones, and now that means cameras. What if we used them for more than selfies? Used them to make a difference?
It’s an intriguing thought.
What do you think?