In Fall of 2012, the northeast coast of the United States was hit by a hurricane “Super Storm Sandy“. I live in New York, on Long Island, in a small town Lindenhurst, which was unfortunately hit extremely hard by this storm. I attend school at Towson University in Maryland, so at the time I was in school and not at home with my family and friends. Being a freshman in college is extremely overwhelming as it is, but after watching the news reports and seeing all of the hype about how hard the storm was going to hit my hometown made me extremely nervous. The storm was not going to directly hit my university, but it was still really nerve wracking to see news reports about how bad it was going to be at home. I felt extremely helpless and my parents warned me that they might loose power and they might not be able to communicate with me for a couple of days.
Luckily, my parents only lost power for a few hours, which was nothing compared to some people. My grandparents lost power for two weeks and I knew a number of families who had to sleep at relatives or family members house’s for heat. There was so much going on and my town was basically under water, so it was a challenge for my parents to keep in touch with me.
I made sure I was updated with what was going on with the storm and the aftermath at all times. There was no way reporters could get there and move around to cover what was going on, so how could I keep myself updated? The answer-CITIZEN JOURNALISM.
Citizen journalism is the collection and analysis of news and information by the general public, especially by means of the internet. Citizen journalists are regular public citizens who play an active role in the process of collecting, reporting, analyzing news and information. Due to the availability of technology, citizens can often report breaking news more quickly than traditional media reporters. Iphones are easily accessible and available at the tip of our fingers majority of the time.
Residents of the areas that were affected by the storm turned to social media to inform the general public what was going on. Instagram, Twitter and especially Facebook were extremely popular forms of media that helped people discover and share important news and most importantly learn the status of how they’re friends and families were doing. Here are some examples of the different types of media that were submitted and that helped me learn what my town was like at the time of the storm. In a lot of the videos caught by the citizens you can hear first-hand what was going on and how things were worsening as time went on.
Citizen journalists have helped spread news before SuperStorm Sandy, after and in the future they will continue to work their magic. The plane landing on the Hudson River, Boston Bombing and Ferguson are a few examples that citizen journalists have had an impact about sharing news with our society. I thank the citizen journalists of SuperStorm Sandy for keeping me updating while I was stuck at school.