4th Citizen Journalism Awards Ceremony

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4th Citizen Journalism Awards Ceremony – Voicing Out and Building Bridges

Taiwanese Citizen Journalists Explore The Links Between Society and the World

PTS and The Foundation for Excellent Journalism Award collaborated to raise the ‘4th Citizen Journalism News Awards Ceremony’ to praise the hard work of citizen journalists who have helped highlight important grassroots’ stories from every aspect of Taiwanese society. The awards, which were held on the 18th of December at National Taiwan University, reviewed the stories that mattered from 2010, topical stories that forced policy makers to look again and reexamine many environmental and societal issues affecting the people of Taiwan.

‘Voicing Out, Building Bridges’, ‘4th Citizen News Awards’ was an opportunity to thank and encourage friends from all over Taiwan who have shown interest and concern in many important grassroots’ issues, who their ingenuity, from mobile phones and cameras to video recorders, brought light into every aspect, every nook and corner of Taiwanese society, and raised concern and insight into the stories that mattered. At the same time, it was also an opportunity to promote the citizen journalism movement that through the development of the latest technology has strengthened the people’s participation in democracy and the power of media broadcasting – a modal example that the whole media world can learn from. This year was the first time the awards have been divided into two distinct sections, ‘special reports above three minutes’, and ‘ short reports below three minutes’. Between the two sections, two hundred and fifteen reports succeeded in being selected, and were judged on the standards of their ‘public appropriateness’, and ‘news worthiness’, of which only thirty-five made it to the finals.  The five winners from each section ‘special reports above three minutes’, and ‘ short reports below three minutes’ each received forty thousand NTD and ten thousand NTD respectively.

The majority of reports from the five winners in the ‘Short Report’ section focused on topical societal or environmental issues. Among them was ‘Feeding Catastrophe of The Macaque’, where reporter Chen Bo-ru discovered that illegal feeding of the monkeys by tourists was seriously affecting the their natural food foraging ability. Another related story highlighted the problems caused by tourist groups from mainland China, that had ‘Feeding the Macaques’ as part of their itinerary, and were also leaving behind large quantities of trash, one of the biggest threats to Yushan National Park. There was also the multifaceted story by reporter Lin Ya-jun, a student at Shih Hsin University, ‘Bus Danger Hidden Behind the Curtains for Over Ten Years’ that brought to light contradictions between public policy and the will of the people. The story highlighted the common but dangerous problem of overloading public buses and the dilemma many citizens find themselves in. On one hand the passengers complain about the overloading of buses, but on the other they fear that if stringent laws are implemented on the buses they may find themselves in the predicament of no bus at all. The drivers’ dilemma is that they face angry complaints from passengers who are refused onto an already overloaded bus, but drivers who are caught with an overloaded bus are fined heavily.

Of the winners in the ‘Special Reports’ section, apart from stories covering happenings related to environmental issues, typhoon disasters, safety in the workplace and industrial pollution, there was also ’Dance Dreamers’, a story of optimistic Thai workers living a hard life in Taiwan, as well as ‘A Story That Can’t Not Have You’, about the cost of a prison experience, and the long road to gain back ones dignity. Of the five winners, the more softer story was ‘Going Back to My Homeland to Find Out Who I Am’, a report from a Taiwanese born student at the University of Missouri in America, who shared her moving story of living in a foreign land and going back to Taiwan for the first time in many years to find out about her own culture, and in the end realizing her connection with Taiwan was little more than that of genetics.

Out with the main winners there were also many fine pieces of work that made it into the selection, including ‘When the Excavators Came to the Rice Fields’ the story covering the Dapu expropriation issue where excavators callously drove in and destroyed rice fields on the edge of harvest, ‘Grandma’s Burial Place’ which reported the story of reconstruction after Typhoon Morakot, and ‘Fight to Capture the Lizards’, the story of an ecological disaster affecting Chiayi County – all of which were broadcast at the awards ceremony. All of the citizen journalists that had work shown at the awards were invited to step forward and share their ideas and expectations.

Established in 2007, the ‘PeoPo Citizen Journalism Platform’, has already accrued near on 50,000 news reports, attracted over 4600 citizen journalists with over 200 NGO’s and NPO’s becoming members and has the active participation of 14 university media departments. The platform has allowed Taiwan’s rich abundance and multifariousness to shine forth, and even captured the attention of the mainstream media. When Typhoon Morakot struck Taiwan, it was citizen journalists from indigenous villages who were first on the scene to capture the harrowing images and immediately upload them onto the platform – the huge impact of these images was something nobody

 

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4th Citizen Journalism Awards Ceremony

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