WITNESS on Medium

Medium Chooses WITNESS in Story for Good Competition

Last Spring Medium created Storytelling for Good, a nonprofit storytelling grant that assigns writers and designers to organizations to tell and share “the stories behind everything you do and everyone you touch.”

Happily, WITNESS was one of five nonprofits chosen, and the result, Eyes on the Ground, is now online. It begins like so:

With recent uprisings in Ferguson, Missouri, and the ongoing fighting in the Middle East, citizen-captured footage has become a vital part of conflict coverage in the media. Videos filmed by ordinary people on the front lines flood social media and video sharing services, including YouTube, where 100 hours of new footage is uploaded every minute.

That, of course, is where WITNESS comes in. Take Ferguson, for instance.

In August, as protesters in Ferguson, Missouri met disproportionate police power, Jackie Zammuto, WITNESS’ Digital Engagement Coordinator, initiated what we call a Surge Response to get resources into the hands of citizen witnesses and organizations that were filming events.

This included direct outreach to specific community groups along with targeted messaging across online platforms to share WITNESS materials that range from guides and videos on filming protests and police misconduct to guides on how to film human rights violations. (For resources shared, see The WITNESS Blog.)

Coming at Ferguson from another angle was Madeleine Bair, WITNESS’ Human Rights Channel Curator, who pulled together citizen video from Ferguson and provided context regarding the specific challenges surrounding video documentation of the event. “Video reports from a range of witnesses, activists, and media reveal not only a pattern of hostility and abuse of power exercised by authorities, but targeted reprisals for documenting police activities,” wrote Madeleine in an article on The WITNESS Blog about the documented harassment and arrests of filmers and journalists.

Recently, New Yorker staff writer Susan Orleans posted on Twitter that she’s always surprised to see her own stories once they’re published. They seem strange to her.

So too, as an organization, reading a profile about the things we do. There’s always more you think could be said, or different aspects of your work you think could be emphasized.

Still though, the article gives a fairly comprehensive overview of many of the things we do, and we hope you give it a read. We also thank Medium for including WITNESS in Storytelling for Good and encourage you to view all five organizations they profiled. Each is doing exceptional work.

About Medium: Medium is a publishing community and platform founded by Twitter co-founders Evan Williams and Biz Stone.

Image: Modified screenshot of Eyes on the Ground on Medium.


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