On a Distant Witness and videos..

It wasn’t just a “right place, right time” scenario for Andy Carvin; it was diligence, smarts and connections.

Reading “Distant Witness” was like watching a good movie – it’s so good you don’t even realize you’re there, until it’s over and you have to get up and return to the real world. Carvin devoted hours a day away from his job and family to be a part of the revolutions making them known to not only his followers, but to act as a breaking news reporter for NPR as well.

His diligently sought out sources in every country to ensure that the story could be told, and be told told correctly. He used translators and friends of friends to confirm allegations. He knew the people to contact and how to contact them. He wasn’t just a “social-media-whatever-his-job-was;” he was and still is a reporter, he just started a reporting trend in a different fashion.

Without social media and camera phones, I wonder if we would have known about these revolutions, or, more accurately, if these revolutions would have even happened. Carvin’s book attests to the true power of what happens when people can interact, plan and collaborate together – and maybe attests to why certain countries block websites and social media accounts.

A Tweet can only go so far, however. Words about Zainab being arrested can be confirmed, but when multiple photos are released across the airways, that evokes an even stronger image of what she endured. Words about tear gas in Tahir Square are powerful (heartbreakingly, terrifyingly powerful) but a live-video stream can leave someone speechless.

The power of videography is undeniable. From SPCA commercials to a war-torn country, seeing is believing and can put a name to a face or a crime to a fear.

Videos have changed the digital landscape because it makes words more relatable, and video has become a staple necessity along with every article. With more interaction, the reader can become more immersed in the story.


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