Mixed messages for citizen journalists


I was watching BBC News 24 today, following the progress of a rather large storm that has hit the UK. Although it wasn't too bad inland (pretty breezy though) it coincided with the spring high tides, so had a very dramatic impact on the coast. It occurred to me that the news media were sending out rather mixed messages. On the one hand, they were leading out earnest spokesperson after earnest spokesperson advising the British public that they should stay in doors and on no account go close to the sea, due to the danger posed by wind and waves.

However, this was immediately followed by the newscasters begging viewers to send in their own photos and videos of the storm. The problem was that some of the pieces of citizen journalism the BBC then went onto show could not have been taken at a safe distance from the coastline. Although the BBC does have a page which advises people "not to take unnecessary risks". The very fact that broadcasters choose to use such items sends out some pretty mixed messages.