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.