‘Irish media hasn’t advanced in the last six or seven years’

03.02.16 user generated content, mediaflash, derek bowler, storyful

The latest episode of Mediaflash sees MediaHQ’s Alex Sheehan chat to Derek Bowler, senior journalist and news projects lead at Storyful.

User generated content is a big part of Storyful’s business product and Bowler’s role in the company.

Media consumers’ appetite for user generated content, or eyewitness media, developed in the mid-noughties with the emergence of social media.

Hunger for truth

“I think with the advent of consumer technology… the production value of telling a story was no longer limited to media companies of media organisations and journalists,” Bowler says, “the power actually came back to me and you.”

Bowler, who as worked on major stories including last year’s Paris attacks and Nepal landslides, says the hunger for user generated content stems from people’s desire for truth.

“It’s a [craving] for information,” he says. “I think when people see an event in real time, they feel empowered… You no longer depend on somebody else to inform you 24 hours later. You’re getting that information quickly and effectively.”

Old school scepticism

In the podcast, he argues that media outlets — outside of Ireland — are becoming increasingly aware of the power of user generated content.

“Publishers aren’t just looking to disseminate content. I think there was a realisation from media outlets that they have to listen to audiences and they also have to harvest content from people.”

Scepticism of social media is an issue for journalism, Derek says:

“I think it’s very much a case of stagnant media organisations not developing internally.

“Irish media hasn’t advanced in the last six or seven years. We work with major international clients on a daily basis… Irish media still fail to see the value of eyewitness media.”

Listen to the latest episode of Mediaflash below, which includes a lively discussion on the power of blogging in anticipation of our February 24 event. We also talk brand storytelling with Áine Kavanagh of the Guinness Storehouse.

Conor – @conormcmahon