December 12, 2013
More than 100 students from journalism programs around the world came together on Nov. 16 to participate in the Pop-Up Newsroom,a temporary virtual newsroom, for a 24-hour global reporting project.
Students from CSUN, Newcastle University in the United Kingdom, National Chung Cheng University in Taiwan and Asian College of Journalism in India partnered to create the event. The students were tasked with covering poverty issues in their respective countries equipped with only their mobile phones and social media tools such as Twitter. They used the event’s main hashtag #livepoverty to report their stories via the Pop-Up Newsroom’s Twitter account @PopUpNewsroom.
“We wanted to tell stories about people who don't often get a voice in the mainstream news media,” said Dr. Melissa Wall, a CSUN journalism professor and creator of the newsroom.
CSUN students reported from places such as Skid Row in downtown Los Angeles while students in India covered people who are economically impoverished, such as abandoned senior citizens. Taiwanese students discussed the monetary issues students face as well as the increasing cost of owning pets, which has led to many pets being abandoned.
“In the UK, students even got a member of Parliament, which is the equivalent to our Congress, to appear live on Bambuser to discuss what the cuts to social services have meant to people in England,” Wall said.
“Years ago, it would have been impossible for students to run a live, global reporting project working with their counterparts around the world,” she added. “Students could see what poverty looks like through the reporting of other students in places like Chennai, India, and it gave them a broader context for their own work.”
The global project itself received prominent coverage, ranging from the blog of Rebel Mouse, a social media site, to newspapers in India, The Hindu and New Indian Express, and a leading journalism site in England.
“Besides honing their mobile and social media skills, Pop-Up Newsroom encourages students to be independent and not wait around to be told what to cover or how,” Wall said. “They have to be self-reliant while also contributing to a group effort.
“The intense burst of reporting by a group of students can highlight an issue in a way that a single story can't. Using social media means these stories get circulated through broader networks, including those of the students themselves,” she added.
The next global Pop-Up Newsroom will take place on March 8, 2014, on International Women's Day. For more information visit the Pop-Up Newsroom’s Twitter page, @PopUpNewsroom or popupnewsroom.net.