Is Humans of New York a Vehicle for Humans Across the World?
In almost a month Brandon Stanton, journalist, and founder of Humans of New York (HONY), has gained over 2.3 million reactions on Facebook to a post made addressing presidential candidate Donald Trump, and his racist ideologies placed on Muslims.
Stanton begins by saying that he has “come to the realization that opposing you [Donald Trump] is no longer a political decision. It is a moral one…” followed by a list of Trump’s wrong-doings such as encouraging violence towards the religious group, as well as advocating for the torture of “terrorists’ families.”
More importantly, Stanton’s public letter to Trump ignited a conversation across the globe, only made possible by his position in society- a journalist with over 17.3 million followers worldwide.
With approximately 71,000 comments, the discussion of Trump’s bigoted social views opened up from an accepting American’s perspective, to stories of Muslims, Canadians, Brits, and more.
When discussing participatory journalism, Mary Hamilton, the U.S Audience director for The Guardian, said that “our readers make our journalism better.” By allowing citizens of the world to weight in on controversial issues it enhances, proves, and expands upon the topic, sparking meaningful conversation and debate. One American commenter, pictured below, thanks Stanton for “curating an enlightened conversation” and reminding millions of our shared humanity.
In Olivia Koski’s article How Participatory Journalism Turns News Consumers into Collaborators, she writes:
“Journalists that instead recognize the audience as a resource, and engagement as a way to tap that resource, can use it to pursue otherwise impossible-to-report stories. The process begins in the same way lots of journalism begins: with a question.”
Which is precisely what Stanton did, without forming a question, but rather putting forward a statement that people can expand and shed light on.
The power of participatory journalism is evident through this post and has proven to be extremely important in understanding Stanton’s letter. Participants (commenters) provided the public with first hand accounts and expressed worldwide opinions and fears regarding Trump, based on his ideologies. Facebook, and HONY performed as a vehicle for conversation, acceptance, debate, and understanding. Atta go Zuckerberg.
As a social advocate for all of humanity, his campaign for the proper treatment of Muslims began on December 3rd 2015 when he started to follow the lives on refugees, and randomly chosen citizens of Iran, Iraq, and Pakistan.
Brandon’s collection of breathtaking, empathy evoking, and educational stories from Iran can be found at: