Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Transparency Example

Hey gang: Unrelated to this weeks reading but relevant to previous discussions. This morning in the NYT an article about cameras in the Middle East. Click.

"Had it not been for the camera — one of about 100 handed out in the West Bank by the Israeli human rights group Btselem for the purpose of documenting violent attacks — the June 8 assault may have ended up like many others that have occurred in these parts: unresolved. But the graphic images and ensuing attention by the news media seem to have spurred the Israeli police. By Friday, the Judea and Samaria branch had arrested three suspects from the nearby modern Jewish settlement of Susiya."

A fine example of how technology is being used for the good of security in an ever-long struggle for justice.

3 comments:

P. Clark said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
P. Clark said...

I like that you dug-up this article for us to read.

The idea that this woman captured the beating on videotape and was able to contact news organizations around her is quite amazing. No doubt this article, this happening, is a great example of how powerful the captured image can hold for some-sort of justice.

Although, I would like to point out my opinion of the actual written piece from ISABEL KERSHNER, from The New York Times, and the missed opportunity to take such an event and open the reader’s minds up to the bigger picture. In a way, I feel like this article did not do justice to this story.

Okay, this article was just under 1,000 words. Hardly any space devoted to this story had any comprehensive explanation of the ‘tension’ (haha) between Arabs and Jews over land occupancy. Very vague mentions of the ramifications for these not so random acts of vicious violence appear as such in the article:

(1) “The south Hebron hills are the scene of constant tension, according to Btselem and the police. The fierce competition for sparse resources is compounded by security fears and deeply conflicting national claims.”

(2 )“Ancient Susiya contains the ruins of a synagogue dating from the Roman period, attesting to a long and robust Jewish presence here. Jewish settlers started moving in again after Israel occupied the West Bank in 1967.”

(3) “The festering conflict revolves around entitlement to the coveted land. The Nawajaas said that they owned about 10 acres in the area, and that they had a deed of registration last renewed in 1935.”

Okay, so, that’s 100 words devoted to unclear explanations of the mess between these two groups of people in the Middle East. You can’t write a story like this without approaching it thinking that the reader has never heard of the conflict before and has no prior knowledge of the conflict. All I’m suggesting is that there must be a lot more space devoted to why they are fighting over land, regardless of previous New York Times articles that wrote about it. No paragraph, no sentence devoted to explaining any policy in play.

I mean, they got the idea they wanted to get across: woman captured beating, technology helped bring justice this one day. I got it. But, with a story like this, more needs to be devoted to explaining to the readers about policies put in action to cause such hostility.

On a technological note, I read this article off the New York Times web page, where they could post this article and link it with a million different articles they have written in the past, that may have devoted more explanation to the conflict…but they don’t. They could have posted this exact article and linked it with a newly written attachment about policies in action that cause this hostility to get a fuller picture of the news going on between the two groups. I mean, an intern could have done that…but they don’t.

It’s good they have the video to click-on and watch, but they could be doing a lot more for the public by focusing on the clearer picture, even if only one person gets inspired by it. For isn’t that what a news organization should achieve?

This is just a fine example of how we are not using our technology to its full potential.

Lance Strate said...

Pat's comments are well taken, and this is a fascinating example, Brian, that illustrates the potential of new media when allowed to follow their bias without hindrance. Quite significant in my opinion is that the cameras were provided by Israelis, and that the Israeli government then addressed the problem. This sequence of events would be unlikely in any Arab state, although they will undoubtedly have more and more trouble keeping a lid on things as the technology becomes more and more commonplace.