“Behind the Wall,” a Voice of America initiative is a crowd-mapping project that yokes together the democracy of citizen journalism with the rigor and accuracy of mainstream journalistic reporting.
Crowdmaps are location-based citizen reports featuring videos, photos, and other public-generated content that are plotted on a map. A geographical version of a Wikipedia, it shows the exact location of an incident.
Unlike real-time reporting that emanates from social network sites, the information, here, is “verified either by non-profits or a network of local citizens.”
One of the main problems that social networking faces when it comes to reporting real-time news is the ease with which the rumor-mill kicks into overdrive.
It’s very easy for people sitting at home, on their computers, to throw out a few rumors into the twitterverse and before you know it, it’s being retweeted and accepted as the truth.
So far, the project has produced three crowdmaps—for Syria, Bahrain, and Yemen—documenting the political unrest in the Middle East. But this technique can be engaged in gathering other kinds of crowdsourced information as well.