On Citizen Journalism and Confrontations

While working late on Sunday (after similar scenarios on Saturday, Friday, and so on) I was faced (literally) with a confrontation and a heated argument with an NYC cab driver. While I wasn’t backing down because of the rough night I was having already, my steadfastness was mainly attributed to the fact that what the cabby did was illegal – duty light on, stopped, asked where we are going, then decline and try to drive off.

To make a long story short, the situation was quickly getting out of hand with words, hands and tempers flying off the handle from both sides… it was only diffused by the quick thinking of one of my colleagues whom was there with me at the time of the flare up. What Jen did probably saved the night both for the cabby (he wouldn’t have to spend the night in jail) as well as for me (not having to staff a client’s Monday press conference with a black eye)… and here is how she did it:

A simple move of taking out her phone and starting to (pretending? attempting? fumbling?) record the situation for posterity… the cabby all of a sudden shut up, ran to his car and drove off… we got into the nearest cab and drove off downtown, in awe of and shaken by what just happened. While i thank her for her positive contribution to the situation, maybe I should also be upset that she didn’t try to use the phone for the good ol analog reason of calling the police for help, but that’s neither here nor there…

Just wanted to make sure I shared this to showcase a personal reprieve of Citizen Journalism (because I don’t really agree with the trend, but cannot deny it), because I saw it work and saw it work well. Looks like i will have to stop making fun of CNN’s iReport now, but I still can’t help to think that it is ruining investigative journalism… but on the other hand, it does now appear clear to me it has potential for diffusing confrontations on site.


9 Responses

  1. Great take on the subject! It’s not the story that matters but the threat. One can hope to see our quality of life increase because of these trends. Cabbies, merchants, any service can learn from stories like this. If only you now had a way to send this delinquent driver to the NYC website to read the laws, then it would come full circle. Maybe next time!

    • You hit the nail on the head… the use of social media for pushing forward of our rights as people (if not consumers) is a key positive for us all… never forget about our right to negatweet!

      I guess i HAVE TO count citizen journalism in the same vein, even if reluctantly… Thanks for the comment!

  2. Fantastic post and very true.

    Any permanent record of a potentially embarrassing situation should send all at fault parties running. Analog or digital.

    I discovered this while taking exterior photos of a restaurant that was about to have a review run in my college paper. The manager got nervous and came out- very concerned (it seems there was some kind of a problem there the night before).

    The permanence and ‘purity’ of photographic/video evidence is, and always has been, very compelling.

    • Absolutely… the reality is, the pressure of the lens and ‘camera’ has never been greater for businesses and people alike… too much recording, monitoring and dissemination of such content around to ignore and fear it… that is, if you have something to hide.

      Thanks for the comment Cog-meister!

  3. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by AlexAizenberg: Touche… RT @amandachapel “On Citizen Journalism and Confrontations” http://wp.me/pzb2t-3T I got yer citizen journalism right here, pal!…

  4. Great post Alex. This is a horrible story that seems like it turned out well for you. Looks like you owe Jen dinner. Something simiar happened to me when a cabbie ran up the fare with me in the car and hit a guy and drove away when I was still in NYC (all illegal) needless to say I jumped out when we hit a red light and called the cops. Never found out what happened to him though.

  5. Great blog, although I think some of the stuff on itt is a little pre used lol.

    • not sure what you mean pre-used, but i will say this… everything has already been written, both musically and lyrically… That goes for blog posts as well. Thanks though!

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