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Citizen Journalism And Bellingcat

An Idirlíon
An Idirlíon

If you are interested in what is commonly known as “citizen journalism“, the internet-invigorated tradition of independent news reporting and analyses coming from individuals and alternative media groups, can I recommend that you visit the website Bellingcat. Launched in 2014 by Elliot Higgins, the once anonymous writer behind the influential Brown Moses blog, Bellingcat focuses on the use of open source information, gathered primarily from online materials, to examine and interpret those events making the headlines, particularly in conflict-zones across the Middle East and the territories of the former Soviet Union. From the deployment of chemical agents against civilian and military targets in Syria by the besieged Assad regime in Damascus to the downing of the civilian airliner, Flight 17 (MH17/MAS17), by pro-Russian separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine, the writers and researchers at Higgins’ new journalistic venture have built up an enviable reputation for sifting through the sort of nitty-gritty evidence most mainstream press are unable (or unwilling) to devote resources to. The website also provides excellent advice for would-be journalists, including this very useful article on mapping organic links between otherwise anonymous online publications and websites. Having tested the suggested techniques over the last few days I have to admit that I was impressed, in particular by just how much data individuals and organisations are leaking out into the internet, largely in ignorance. Try for yourself.

6 comments on “Citizen Journalism And Bellingcat

    • That blog post and then the Independent article is a bit of a coincidence. I’ve had my own dodgy experiences with the press, such as my post on British soldiers making Nazi salutes in front of unionist flags while serving in Afghanistan. The Daily Mail ran with the story after they contacted me, and did so without attribution. I’ve had similar stuff happen with other events or issues I’ve looked at, plus a few copy-and-paste sentences lifted out of stuff published on ASF and used under someone else’s name. I don’t mind that as I feature so many media articles myself but the odd link back or mention would be nice 😉

      Yeah, must give an explanation on the change to the website. Will do that now!


    • This is good.
      I think IMO. That in order to advance we need to dispel lots of myths that have been created and are used as “FACTS” on the internet
      about Irish history and Irish unity.
      IMO most unionist history of the type that unionist comments are just false quite frankly.
      And this type of action by Sammy and Seamas is a way to correct this.
      This citizen journalism is the best hope of getting through to people.


      • Thanks, Oz, and that is certainly true in Ireland. The media here is too much of a closed shop. It needs a few nips around the ankles 😉


  1. re. “That blog post and then the Independent article is a bit of a coincidence. ”

    I know the guy in the independent – he took a previous story. I sent the link to him to see if he fancied it – which he did and sent to the indos (British and Irish) and the BelTel. The BBC and UTV , and Irish News picked up on it and everyone’s favourite newspaper the Daily Mail not only picked up on it – but were the only ones to link it back to the original site ‘we in coming days’ (probably didn’t want to give any traffic to the indo). Good old Daily Mail.


    • Good for Bangodub and yourself. So they ain’t all bad over at the Mail 😉

      Generally I’ve found career journalists an odd lot to deal with over the last 3 or 4 years, you never quite know where you are with them or what the agenda is. A mixed bunch altogether.


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