Monday, January 26, 2015

Meet the Livestreamers Who Revolutionized How the World Watched Ferguson [VIDEO]

Posted By on Mon, Jan 26, 2015 at 6:00 AM

click to enlarge Livestreamers broadcast a conversation with police to followers all over the world. - SADIYYAH RICE
  • Sadiyyah Rice
  • Livestreamers broadcast a conversation with police to followers all over the world.

The revolution may not be televised, but it is livestreamed.

Since the early days of the Ferguson protests, activists have used smartphones to record and live-publish video from demonstrations, connecting viewers around the world to the front lines of police clashes in real time.

Distrustful of the official narrative spun by police and mainstream media about the protests, activists use apps such as Livestream and Ustream to take their stories into their own hands, revolutionizing and democratizing press coverage in the process.

"The inability to hide -- for the government or anyone -- to hide anything newsworthy, it's only starting," said Max Haot, chief executive of Livestream, to CNET in August. "What's really unique is how much faster and bigger [Ferguson] became. It shows the impact live-streaming is having and will have in the future."

Meet The Livestreamers Behind Ferguson from Voice Media Group on Vimeo.

Leigh Maibes, who livestreams under the handle @Stackizshort, started at the Ferguson protests as a demonstrator, she tells Riverfront Times videographer Sadiyyah Rice. But when she noticed protesters were being arrested without any media documenting police actions, she started broadcasting it herself.

"When I made the switch to livestreaming, it was kind of strange because I felt cut off from my fellow demonstrators and protesters," Maibes says. "I don't chant. I don't participate in the action like I used to."

Rather than join in the protests and risk getting arrested, Maibes records as much as she can -- both for the viewers at home and for the protesters who use the videos to challenge police tactics in court.

"I consider it a form of activism," she says.

Follow Lindsay Toler on Twitter at @StLouisLindsay. E-mail the author at Lindsay.Toler@RiverfrontTimes.com.

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