Amateur Footage: A Global Study of User-Generated Content

The Complexity of Syria

Almost all interviewees talked about their discomfort with having to rely so heavily on UGC from Syria, and struggled with identifying the best way to inform the audience about the activist groups that were uploading this content to YouTube. Al Jazeera made a conscious editorial decision to label videos from Syria as “ Video.” As one of its presenters argued, ``We used to just say, ‘’ Now it’s ‘ Video.’ That was a

conscious decision made. This is activist video. Take it. We will explain it as best we can, but remember where it came from and I think that was a very good thing to do.” The AP includes descriptions about the different organizations in its dopesheets: At the time that we arranged these relationships [with the different activist groups] we asked how they wanted to be referenced. For example, Ugarit News has the big logo that looked like the Sky News logo when it started, and so it was important to say that it was released by a group that calls itself Ugarit News and then to tell clients that this is not a recognized newsgathering organization. Similarly, I remember Shaam News Network had to [run] through our standards center as well. We ended up describing it as a loosely organized anti-Assad group based in and out of Syrian territory. They claim they do not have any connection to Syrian opposition parties or other states.