Andrew Butters is a Fellow at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford University and the former Middle East bureau chief for TIME Magazine.
“Though I’ve covered the middle east extensively, the Arab uprising caught me by surprise. You can imagine my reaction when the biggest news story broke out and I was now in Oxford, but I was given leave to freelance for Time Magazine in the critical locations. Many of my colleagues have found Twitter to be useful during the uprising, including Facebook for uploading photos and videos – Locals put the mass uprising down to social networking sites.”
Writes Jon Dudley…
“I saw the limits of social networking – You don’t need a Facebook page to start a protest in a place of long standing problems, and I’ll leave historians to prove that social networking had any involvement. Perhaps Twitter is getting too much buzz, and I wanted to travel and get eye-witness accounts instead of following Twitter and public opinion. One of the jobs of a good journalist, however, is to use the technology of the age.”
“Libyans were giving food and shelter, and even clothing, to Journalists, and this was something I had never witnessed before. We should feel really good about our coverage, we did something that locals and the blogsphere couldn’t do on its own – instead of a popular path without looking at flawed opposition views. The western media reassured audiences that there was no threat from the uprising, but in fact to solve the past forty years and solve problems with oil and ceasefires.”
“Being an American, this gave me reason to ‘write back home’ and state that in the uprising there is no anti-semitism, no burning of US flags, it simply isn’t about us in the 1970’s. In America however, there is still a world view that this fight could work against their country – really it is offering a sustainable revolution.”