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Occupy my TV: The birth of the citizen video reporter

A police officer calmly walking down a line of sitting protesters, sweeping them with pepper spray:Footage of last Friday’s police actions against peaceful protesters at UC Davis become the most shared video clips on YouTube this weekend, with the two most popular clips attracting more than two million views in just a few days. The video images of the incident are deeply upsetting, but they’re also a defining moment for media in the U.S. It documents the rise of the citizen video reporter, which really just emerged over the last few weeks, ready to occupy our TV screens.

The Arab spring relied largely on this kind of coverage, with people in Lybia recording sometimes horrific footage of military crack-downs with their phones and then smuggling it out of the country to upload it from Egyptian Internet cafes. The work of citizen journalists has been essential for these conflicts, because media is often barred from reporting on the scene. Many of these citizen journalists are already taking the next step, streaming everything online in real time.

The same can’t exactly be said for the U.S., where journalists by and large can report freely from protests. However, mainstream media are increasingly facing a different problem, which has never been as apparent as during the Occupy protests: It can only extend itself so much, and be at so many places at the same time.

Spencer Mills started with a live stream with less than ten viewers, but his talent for being in the right place at the right time and his infectious opinionated-man-on-the-street style have helped him to find an audience of tens of thousands.

Check out the video interview with Mills, or continue reading full article written by Janko Roettgers on

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