Fri, 30 Sep 2011 2:52p.m.
By James Murray
I recently released a blog talking about our new 3Youth page, an initiative to give young people a voice in the mainstream media.
I put the blog on Facebook and instantly received an email from a young woman who wanted me to extend our coverage of the Occupy Wall Street protests.
This was her message for me:
“I'm a young New Zealander and I would like more coverage on Occupy Wall Street. This is a very important current event for youth, as well as for people of all ages living in a democratic system.
“The people occupying Wall Street, or 'Liberty' Plaza are seeking equality and a return to democratic processes. The feeling of helplessness we feel as the successive governments ignore the needs of the people of New Zealand has resulted in apathetic youth, and the economic polices have resulted, not in a trickle down of wealth, but in growing inequality, unemployment, child and domestic abuse, suicide and crime.
“The media have a responsibility in a democratic society to keep the public well informed so that the decisions they make are, in turn, well informed. I feel you are failing to do this in your biased and feeble attempts at covering Occupy Wall Street, also in a range of other matters but I will not seek to express those here.”
We got chatting via email and I explained that we had been covering this story as well as we can. Without having a foreign correspondent in the US of our own we rely on news wires from the Associated Press and video from CBS, Sky, ITV and Reuters.
In short, the amount of social media coverage this story is getting – far outweighs the stories we are receiving from traditional media organisations.
There are of course ways round this and despite disagreeing with her about media bias I felt the young woman who emailed me had a point. Consequently I was able to get in touch with Brian Phillips, a man whose responsibilities at the Occupy Wall Street protest include logistics, security and communications.
Mr Phillips spoke to me on the phone today and we discussed the aims of the protest, the power of the Occupy Wall Street social media campaign, the accusations of media bias on this story, his response to those who say the protest is insignificant and what the future will bring.
Among other things, Mr Phillips tells me the protestors are preparing now for winter and setting up so they can stay in position for months rather than weeks.
Check this blog next week for a transcript of the phone interview plus some further thoughts. Listen to the interview with Mr Phillips by clicking on the video tab above.