Citizen journalism

I was up on the balcony of my rooftop apartment in Taipei, Taiwan, in July of 2008, when the first signs of Typhoon Fong-Wong entered the city center.  The sun had just gone down and the normally bustling city streets  were empty below.  The following day would be a “typhoon day” with schools, government offices, and businesses closed.  There was a calm and an eeriness in the air and yet it was so beautiful I had to go back inside for my camera.  The calm before the storm.  I came back outside a minute later and the beacon from the world’s tallest occupied building, Taipei 101, was shining heavenward into the mist.  The storm had technically just arrived!  After shooting I immediately wanted to share  –  and so I uploaded the image as my first CNN “iReport” .  

Last year’s typhoon season would deliver four major typhoons in a row – including Category 5 Typhoon Jangmi. While a number of the footage clips I was shooting and talking head reports I was filing were used on air from Morning Express with Robin Meade in the US to CNN International in Asiait wasn’t until I was contacted by a woman in America with a husband on a ship just NE of Taipei (during Typhoon Jangmi) that I began to take the power of the iReport seriously.  She told me through a comment on the user-generated site that she couldn’t get the information I was providing anywhere else and that she was truly thankful.  

The point is that anybody can become a citizen journalist.  You can share your photos, your thoughts, and even try your hand at the odd interview.  So whether you’re a journalist, a citizen journalist, or a citizen journalist in the making, with Flash River Safari, you’re more than welcome to come along for the ride!

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