Week 2_Summer Hatfield response to viewings and reading

First of all, let me just wipe the tears out of my eyes after watching some of these videos.  In particular, one from the WITNESS human rights channel regarding Cambodia and the story of land grabbing. When the cops are carrying a little old lady out by her arms and legs, it was like Niagra Falls in here.  I found this website to be very well organized, the content was very engaging.  Also, its great that they have a whole section dedicated to educating people not only on how to produce videos, but also to teach them about effectiveness, safety, and ethics.  As Kelley Matheson pointed out in the Ted Talks video, there are now cameras literally everywhere.  It is important that people are educated on some of these basic principles, and I would even go so far as to say they need to be teaching this in schools today.   Another good point Matheson makes in her talk is that “video puts the human in human rights.”  This is demonstrated by the videos on the site.  Cases like the Rodney King video are also great examples.

While I wasn’t completely unaffected by the videos from EngageMedia, I found them as a whole to be, ironically, less engaging.  I believe this is because they don’t seem to have as much context and narrative in the videos, and its not as well organized as WITNESS.  I do still see a great deal of merit in this site though.  How I find both of these sites relate to our other readings and viewing thus far is that they all seem to be organized around collaboration and social change.  Matheson says that profound change takes time and trust, and long-term relationships are therefore often necessary.  There is also the human aspect threaded in all of the videos. From what I understand to be Charlie Gere’s argument, digital technology is not enough on its own. There needs to be context, narrative, something relatable and compelling.  The human aspect, people reaching out to one another, igniting empathy and understanding, is what is necessary to make information meaningful.  And meaning is necessary to spark social change.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

6 comments to Week 2_Summer Hatfield response to viewings and reading

  • Grace

    I, on the other hand, found the ENGAGE videos I have so far watched to be more attuned to my personal idea about the great potential of user-generated media. Maybe, it’s because after watching those gritty WITNESS videos, I was inclined to change pace a bit, follow my inclination and look at videos that explore the arts and culture scene in the Asia Pacific.

    Watching a video about a traditional dance in Bali or a textile cottage industry giving employment to women somewhere in East Asia may not be as heart-stopping as watching a Greenpeace ship captain being arrested by Russian authorities or seeing tearful, motherless Cambodian kids, but I believe they can enrich our experience in more fundamental ways if we let them. They open our eyes to the more subtle workings of the world that tend to be obscured by the big, disruptive issues of the day that are the province of organizations like WITNESS.

    • summerh@uoregon.edu

      You make a good point about how the Engage videos can open our eyes to the more subtle workings of the world, I think this is definitely a very good aspect of the Engage site, and an important and necessary function of journalism which is often obscured.

  • bjh@uoregon.edu

    I agree with you on WITNESS being on the whole completely organized. I was happy to see that nearly anything that you could want to know about the organization and their causes to be right there at your finger tips. What I was happiest to see was that their sections on how to make these videos was in depth and very clear even to a layman.

    I wonder how much these resources have helped budding filmmakers though. Until WITNESS was brought to my attention in this class I had no idea they even existed. So I have to wonder how can they reach a farther audience than they have now.

  • awoodard@uoregon.edu

    Word. The WITNESS site is super impressive, and oh my goodness that video “Our Voices Matter.” Beautiful and incredible affective. I can’t believe I’ve never heard of this site before.

  • epriebe@uoregon.edu

    I found the education component of the WITNESS website to be one of the most fascinating parts of the whole organization. I loved the part in the TEDx talk where Kelley Matheson was talking about the development of that aspect of the organization and the need to teach people how to effectively create videos and create some kind of narrative structure. From bulky and expensive cameras at the inception of the organization, to now having cameras in every pocket, technology has certainly changed and challenged the mission of the organization. There are so many interesting challenges introduced by having cameras everywhere and having an organization designed to promote that content. How do you promote and protect the subjects of these videos? Matheson’s discussion of the Iranian government using video and the Internet to crowdsource identifying people to go after was chilling. The very technology that spreads awareness for these important human rights issues, can be turned against those trying to work for social change.

  • dereky@uoregon.edu

    I thought the Cambodia videos were very disturbing too. I know that the purpose of these videos is to show us human rights violations, but there never seems to be a place or contact information where viewers can go to help.

    I think that Witness is a very well thought out website and could be a very helpful resource for people in education. I am hoping to spread the word to my colleagues about the website. It can provide new and relevant material for social studies and other subjects.

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>