How We Covered: The Paris Attacks
One year on from the attacks in France, we examine how user generated content can be sourced and verified during a tragic event
The 13th of November is a poignant date on the news calendar. Last year, 130 people were killed, hundreds wounded, and the world reeling with shock after a series of coordinated terror attacks in Paris. Friday nights are usually a time of celebration, of joy and optimism. But by midnight, and as the full details of the attacks were revealed, that party atmosphere quickly gave way to a sense of horror.
On that chilling night, seven attacks were made in different locations across the French capital. Whether caught up in the events, or following the developments from the safety of social media, it is still painful to recall the feelings of chaos, alarm, and fearful apprehension that reigned throughout those hours. And as the prayers and tributes were pouring in, the world’s media struggled to keep track of exactly what was going on.
Working long into the early hours of the morning, Newsflare’s team – thanks in large part to the sterling efforts of our French researcher Laure Boulinier – managed to piece together a story of what happened that night. Demonstrating tact, sensitivity, and mindfulness for those caught up in the events, a group of citizen journalists were encouraged to upload their footage to our website.
From scenes of victims being carried off on stretchers outside the Bataclan, to streets being closed down in the immediate aftermath of the attack, our verification methods ensured that the story was told both factually and respectfully. And, at a time when emotions were running high, it is a great credit to our news team that the job was performed with such a degree of professionalism.
“One of Newsflare’s roles in the media landscape is helping news organisations accurately report current events by responsibly sourcing and verifying user-generated content to supplement their in-house work,” said Mark Morris, the company’s head of news.
“During fluid incidents like last year’s tragic attacks in Paris, it’s difficult to immediately establish the veracity of a video which has been posted on social media, let alone quickly find out who owns the copyright because it may have been shared hundreds of times.”
“You also have to consider the safety of the people filming the content and whether the footage is in the public interest, so journalism training and high levels of professionalism are an absolute must if you want to be one of our journalists,” he continued.
“In the case of Paris, we were able to cover events as they unfolded in a responsible but effective way, using a combination of our existing pool of members based in the French-capital, and our expertise in discovering new footage.”
This weekend, in a fitting tribute to the victims of the attacks, the newly refurbished Bataclan will reopen with a concert by British star Sting. A memorial event at the Place de la Republique will then take place on the Sunday, along with numerous other tributes across the country. While the wounds are still deep and will continue to be felt, the whole world will be behind Paris in remembering that tragic night.
Wherever you are, If you’re able to capture some of the Paris tributes this weekend, please upload them to our website. Whether small gatherings or mass memorials, our clients will be very interested in any footage that shows how you’re honouring the occasion.