Curating vital news: Using Bundlr & Storify to document serious war crimes allegations

Nigel Nugawela, my friend and co-editor of Groundviews, in a great example of how web platforms can help with curating and keeping track of vital news, used Bundlr to create this ‘bundle’ of news anchored to the hugely controversial and disturbing Channel 4 documentary, Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields.

I’ve used Storify a number of times before on Groundviews to do much the same thing, but Bundlr is visually more attractive on its own page, and renders a bit better and faster when embedded to WordPress. Nigel’s bundle was so popular, it even made it to the frontpage of Bundlr today, which is no mean feat and also indicative of the global attention on Channel 4’s documentary at present.

Sri Lanka’s Post-War Crisis: War Crimes and Channel 4, in less than half a day of going up on Groundviews, was read over 2,500 times. In addition to Nigel’s Bundlr news bundle, Twitter explodes with reactions and responses to Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields documents, through Twitter’s own search engine, the hundreds of times #killingfields was used in tweets after the first broadcast of Channel 4’s documentary in the UK. The documentary was subsequently made available online on-demand.

Tools like Storify, Bundlr and even Twitter own search make it a cinch to curate disparate news sources pegged to a vital issues on an on-going basis. My great fear however is that the content captured on these platforms, which become a matter of historical record almost impossible to regenerate as time passes, is completely hostage to the commercial success of these ventures. If they fail (and sometimes these ventures stop their services with little or no warning), there is no easy way to export this content to another platform, or save it locally.

On balance though, the stories published on Groundviews using Storify, Bundlr and other visualisation tools (I’m also currently looking at the integration of Infomous into the platform) help researchers and readers alike easily engage with critical content that frames current debates around war crimes and accountability in Sri Lanka.

I can’t see a single other web or mainstream media source in Sri Lanka doing anything remotely similar.

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