Best Practices for Using Eyewitness Footage

This Webinar was originally broadcast on:
March 09, 2016 Enroll Now
Watch and listen to the original one-hour Webinar in its entirety. This Webinar recording features the full presentation led by Poynter faculty and visiting faculty including Q&A from the audience and resources from the presenter.

Course Overview

Best Practices for Using Eyewitness Footage
Originally Broadcast On:
March 09, 2016
Time Estimate:
One hour for the main presentation and questions. Sometimes presenters stay longer to answer additional questions from participants.

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The viral "Syrian War" video that was actually filmed on a set in Malta. The elevator surveillance footage of Ray Rice attacking his partner. Social media posts of teenage sex offenders. Videos of executions carried out by terrorist groups.

User-generated content presents new ethical challenges for journalists. Does sharing videos created by extremist organizations aid their goals by provoking fear, or is sharing a necessary part of reporting? Should eyewitnesses be asked permission before their videos are broadcast, or would that hinder the reporting process? How can journalists report on abuse caught on camera without violating the privacy or impacting the security of those seen on video?

This webinar will walk you through ethical challenges posed by eyewitness footage, and provide strategies to assess the risk of using that footage and minimize potential harm to your audience, citizen journalists, and average people caught on camera.

What Will I Learn:
  • Whether to use video of crisis situations sent by your users
  • A checklist to verify the credibility of the video
  • Ethical challenges of sharing the video with your audience
  • How to assess the potential harm of sharing footage
  • Best practices when working with graphic footage, perpetrator videos and unverified media
Who Should Take this Course:

Video reporters, producers and news directors who curate video sent by social media, editors who have to decide on deadline what to publish, and anyone who uses eyewitness footage. Journalism instructors and ethicists will learn how to introduce these issues to their students.

Course Instructor:

Madeleine Bair

Madeleine Bair is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker, and an expert on human rights video advocacy, verification of online footage, and the role of citizen video in exposing abuse and bringing about justice. At the international human rights organization, WITNESS, Madeleine’s work is dedicated to advancing the safe and effective use of eyewitness video as a tool for human rights. She led the Webby-nominated Human Rights Channel and is lead author of the organization’s groundbreaking Ethical Guidelines for Using Eyewitness Video in Human Rights.

Technical Requirements:

1.4GHz Intel® Pentium® 4 or faster processor (or equivalent) for Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 8.1
512MB of RAM (1GB recommended) for Windows 7 or Windows 8
Microsoft Internet Explorer 8, 9, 10, 11; Mozilla Firefox; Google Chrome
Adobe® Flash® Player 11.2+

1.83GHz Intel Core™ Duo or faster processor
512MB of RAM (1GB recommended)
Mac OS X 10.7.4, 10.8, 10.9
Mozilla Firefox; Apple Safari; Google Chrome
Adobe Flash Player 11.2+

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