Armed with Smartphones and Social Media, Brazil’s Mídia Ninja Spreads the News

By  |  September 3, 2013, 9:23 AM

(Photo via Shutterstock)

(Photo via Shutterstock)

There’s a new kind of journalism coming from the streets of Rio de Janeiro. The Mídia Ninja is a collective of volunteer citizen journalists who are using smartphones and cameras to record and live-stream street protests in Brazil. And as its influence grows, the ninja is setting the agenda for political discontent, The Guardian reports.

The Mídia Ninja has used social media to break news stories on police infiltrations, wrongful arrests, and more. In the past few months it has grown to a group of 2,000 collaborators in 100 cities, and it is beating the mainstream media to important stories. Brazilian media giants like Globo are even running ninja footage. Their goal is a “no-cuts, no censorship approach—ninja is an acronym for “independent narratives, journalism and action” in Portuguese.

The Mídia Ninja is just one example of the crowdsourced, tech-powered journalism that is starting to replace traditional journalism—and even fuel political change. From Arab Spring (when NPR’s Andy Carvin turned his Twitter into a news wire) to projects from organizations such as ProPublica, it is becoming clear ordinary citizens can play a huge role in public discourse and the dissemination of news—especially if they have a smartphone, a social media account, and a willingness to hit the streets.

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