Politics through a smartphone lens: How UGC reveals new political battlegrounds
Drawing comparisons to gameshows such as the Weakest Link, the political ‘leaders debate’ has become of the most hotly anticipated events on the election calendar. To see all political hopefuls plus Leanne Wood going toe to toe in front of a national audience is hugely entertaining. And some of the back-and-forths and flustered appeals to the audience would rival the finest vaudevillian performers.
But when they get off stage, away from the carefully adjusted spotlight, do they keep up the act? Unless their name is Boris Johnson, the answer is usually no. There are always election-defining moments when a candidate is taken off guard, where their bluff and bravado is temporarily muted. Some standoff with an angry member of the public for instance, or that famous ‘bigoted woman’ moment that derailed Gordon Brown’s 2010 campaign.
As purveyors of user generated content, the role of Newsflare this election is to source compelling footage that offers a unique snapshot into often underreported political battlegrounds. Whether it’s a chance encounter on the street or a protest not picked up by the TV cameras, we specialise in sending out content showing moments that would otherwise go unreported.
At a Jeremy Corbyn rally in York last month, we managed to source footage of a disgruntled campaigner raising the issue of prosecutions for Northern Ireland war veterans. After his question wasn’t answered by Corbyn during the labour leader’s speech, he later engaged in a heated exchange with other party supporters.
It is moments like this that emphasise the value of user generated content. And thanks to our contributor who filmed the altercation, that man’s voice was heard.
A truly representative democracy relies on voters knowing about the all the challenges that real people face. And as attention is often calculated towards issues affecting the highest percentage, it can also be extremely valuable to provide an outlet for under-represented political issues and viewpoints. It enlists our sympathy, and ensures that it is not just rational self-interest that drives our political decisions.
Once verified by our team, we believe in the power of footage to compel and inspire audiences around the world. Politics isn’t suited, well rehearsed politicians standing on podiums. It’s people gathering on the street expressing their point of view in passionate and often creative ways. It is about removing the PR sheen of the party political broadcast and replacing it with the all the vibrancy and spontaneity of life.
If you have any election videos that you’d like to contribute to Newsflare, please don’t hesitate upload them to our website. We’re looking for anything and everything that may provide a unique insight on how the election is going.