Monday, 8 August 2011

Guardian Newspaper Crowdsources London Riots

The Tottenham riots in London, escalated following a peaceful protest over the shooting of Mark Duggan by armed police. Shops were set alight and looted, homes were destroyed, and many people were injured during the ensuing violence. As on the scene reports are posted on-line and on social networks, reasons as to why the riots broke out in the first place seemed unclear, shrouded in passionate outbursts, and speculation. The Guardian newspaper therefore launched a crowdsourcing survey of those who witnessed the riots, and Tottenham residents in the hopes of providing another dimension to the news reports. 

The results of the survey, compiled by data journalist James Ball have been posted on the newspaper's DataBlog page. The survey was conducted alongside onsite reporters who interviewed witnesses, residents and even participants, all of whom were anonymously cited in the report. Views as to what started the riots have included police conduct, criminal and thuggish behaviour, yet a common concern seems to point to the socio economic situation in Tottenham. The level of poverty and disenfranchisement believed to have been amplified by poor employment opportunities are seen as the powder and Mark Duggan's shooting, the spark that lit the fuse. 

Despite a call to communities to maintain calm, riots continue to break out (even as this article is being compiled) in various parts of London, including Peckham, Hackney and Lewisham. The Guardian has indicated that it would continue to examine the causes of the riots with a crowdsourced survey to take into account the latest outbreaks. You can read James Ball's report by clicking here

Image Source; Michael Bruntonspall

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