The Storyful Podcast: Syria — Stories of War in an Old Land, Told With New Technology

By Eoghan Sweeney at Storyful

Map and image analysis, evaluation of sources, debunking of fakes, rapid discovery of new content — all are key factors in the verification of online video and images. And nowhere have these skills and techniques been put to the test during Storyful’s existence more than in Syria.

From the early stages, when protesters took to the streets in the spring of 2011, it was apparent that traditional outlets were not going to be able to bring anything like the full story to the public, as the government quickly restricted the movements of foreign media. The dangers of defying this increased steadily, and were brought to horrifying prominence in February 2012 with the deaths of seasoned journalists Marie Colvin and Rémi Ochlik.

The entry of Islamic State as the conflict developed made reporting from the ground all the more lethal, and most of Syria a no-go area for correspondents. The information gap has been largely filled by local volunteers and activists, who have brought the world a far greater picture of events in the now war-ravaged country than would otherwise have been possible.

But in a conflict where remaining neutral is not an option, it is inevitable that every provider of content will have an agenda, and propaganda abounds.

What does this mean for journalists trying to present an accurate picture of events? How well are they equipped to keep up with the increasing media sophistication employed by all parties to the conflict? And what are the dangers in reporting on a situation that you rarely, if ever, get to witness at first hand?

In this week’s episode of The Storyful Podcast, host Laura Byrne is joined by Storyful journalists Ben Decker, Joe Galvin, Razan Ibraheem, and Eoghan Sweeney to discuss a conflict that has challenged media in ways that were scarcely imaginable a decade ago.

Eoghan Sweeney is a Storyful editor based in Germany. For more information on Storyful, visit storyful.com or follow us on Twitter.

The Storyful Podcast is available on iTunes, Stitcher, Tunein and Soundcloud.