A dearth of news accounts from Myanmar

9 May

The LA Time’s coverage of the Cyclone discusses NowPublic’s role:

Previous disasters have proved to be opportunities for “open-source” reporting, in which citizens post photographs, videos and written accounts that help broaden the perspective on a crisis. But the Myanmar cyclone has produced a paucity of such Internet accounts.

Nowpublic.com, which advertises its “Crowd Powered Media” and claims posts from as many as 20,000 individuals a month, has featured little original reporting from Myanmar this week.

Its accounts draw largely from mainstream news organizations and dispatches written by expatriate Burmese, although the site did feature a photograph and short report from an Italian traveling in the country when the disaster hit.

Michael Tippett, co-founder of Vancouver, Canada-based Nowpublic, said reports from the field probably have been stymied by several factors, including the low Internet penetration in Myanmar, the collapse of utilities in the storm and the fear of posting information that might anger the military government.

“I would say, under the circumstances, it’s amazing we got anything out of there,” Tippett said. “But do we have a fully transparent view? Not by a long shot. It’s definitely the kind of story we would like to get more coverage the next time.”

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