CitizenTube has been curating videos of all the Middle East and North African protests. For Egypt, they have dozens and dozens of raw clips from the fight for the country. CitizenTube is a joint project of YouTube and a new journalistic project called Storyful, founded by Irish journalist Mark Little. The site's about page reads like a much-needed manifesto about much more than news:
Storyful was founded by journalists who wanted to curate the real-time web. In other words, separate the useful news from the river of noise flowing through channels like Twitter and YouTube. We set out to discover the most authentic sources on the big stories... We believe every story starts with a single voice, not a conversation in a newsroom. There is no such thing as a scoop, just a story before its inflection point. Storyful's golden rule is there is ALWAYS someone closer to the story.
Some individuals have stepped to the archival mission, as well. Andrew Carvin, NPR's social media expert, has also been curating news about the unrest in the Middle East with superhuman tenacity--and his real-time, Twitter-based news feed will no doubt be an important reservoir of information going forward.
But collection and curation is only part of the process by which we find meaning in events. The truth is when you look at a handful of videos or a progression of Tweets, it's hard to connect those moments to the greater narrative of the revolution. One downside to the kaleidoscopic perspective of today's media landscape is that it's hard to tell just what the hell is going on half the time.
18 Days in Egypt aims to be a crowd-sourced documentary about what happened there. Launched just a week ago by former New York Times video journalist and current Knight fellow at Stanford University, Jigar Mehta, the site wants to tackle the difficult task of providing the right context for the raw videos and news that others have posted and collected.
Mehta said that his team, which includes interaction designer Yasmine Elayat and fellow documentarian Alaa Dajani, is working to build a sort of URL uploader that would allow them to collect more information about Tweets, video clips and Facebook.
"The ask is A, you've uploaded your footage and B, we want you to be engaged," Mehta said. "We want you to go back and add more information to your photo orvideo. Add the tag, the day it was done. Add the location. Let's amass this information."
To start the effort, they're working on scraping posts to Flickr, YouTube and Twitter that are tagged #18daysinEgypt.
It's a new effort, obviously, and a lot of details still have to be worked out, but Mehta said that they they'd like two things to come out of the project. First, a normal crowdsourced long-form documentary created exclusively with footage from people on the ground. Second, they've got an intriguing idea for creating an online exhibit where you'd be able to "play back" any given time during the 18 days.