Rockets are flying. Israel’s responding with air strikes and a call-up of reservists. The army named this mission Operation Protective Edge.
The conflict isn’t only being fought over the skies of Gaza and the Israeli home front. It’s also being fought in the media. We’re going to see all kinds of news reports, photos, and video. People are already posting observations on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms.
As we all want to be informed, and inform others, how do we sort through the information overload? And what’s our own responsibility for what we choose to share?
Here are five tips to help.
1. How do I know this? For anything you read, ask yourself, “How does the reporter (activist, tweeter, my best friend, etc.) know this?” Is the ultimate source a first-hand eyewitness? Is he quoting an eyewitness? Which leads to point two.
2. Sourcing: Is the source identified? Can you judge for yourself if he reliable? If the source is anonymous, has the reporter credibly explained why he needs to remain nameless?
3. Images: Be wary of images that aren’t credited. We’ve seen images from Syria and old images from Gaza irresponsibly passed off as “current from Gaza.” So if you share a photo, include some info about where you saw it and why you trust it enough to post. That’s transparency, which leads to my next point.
4. Be transparent. Transparency makes it easier for all of us to digest your contribution to the conversation. And if something you share turns out to be bogus, transparency may protect your credibility from getting burnt.
5. When in doubt, leave it out. Don’t rush to post anything. Take a breath and think it through.
Image: CC BY flickr/mkhmarketing