London Social Media Summit 2014: Radar’s Libby Powell talks about the power of SMS reporting

Last month I was fortunate to be able to attend the London Social Media Summit 2014 organised by the BBC College of Journalism and the New York Times.

There were a number of interesting keynotes and panels featuring senior figures from a diverse range of organisations including the BBC, Twitter and BuzzFeed, but the talk which struck me most was delivered by director of Radar, Libby Powell.

Radar is a communication rights organisation run by journalists and development professionals that trains networks of citizen reporters in marginalised communities to use basic mobile phones to tell their stories. You can read about their work during the 2012 Sierra Leone elections here.

Libby gave a really interesting account of how SMS reporting is helping to power journalism in the developing world and reminded the audience, largely made up of digitally-savvy journalists, that technology we may dismiss when reporting here in the developed world can actually be incredibly useful in areas lacking the technological infrastructure that we have largely come to take for granted.

You can watch the panel discussion – headlined Social Innovation in World News – below. Libby’s talk about the work being done by Radar begins at 23:25.

Further videos from the London Social Media Summit 2014 can be found on the BBC College of Journalism YouTube channel.


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