(The Humanitarian Social Network)
Obviously, the news media thinks it is newsworthy that Jason Russell, the co-founder (and some would say 'leading man') of the Stop Kony online video campaign was detained for running around naked in public and acting bizarre.
I did, as well, but simply reported it as a short post with what I would say was a relatively muted headline. I did this not because I thought it was unimportant or was squeamish about the details but because I didn't really have much more to add to the news stories.
Owen Barder was among those in the aid blogosphere who criticized the media reporting of Jason Russell's behavior for inappropriately focusing on a "private personal problem."
I disagreed with Owen, and told him so, because Russell's pitch -- to both Stop Kony and to donate (millions, it appears) to his organization -- was also highly personal.
What do you all think?
Certainly, Russell's bizarre behavior is not the central issue here. But I think it's relevant.
I think the way you handled and reported it was fair. The video is very personal and connects the personal drive to bring justice to Kony with the audience. The centrality of Russell makes him an important figure in the campaign and the film. Doing so, in my opinion, to an incident like this.
I think that while perhaps in principle, we should be able to pick and choose which aspects of our personal lives we expose to the random, general public, in an open context like - say - YOUTUBE - in actual practice it doesn't work out quite that way. While I take Owen's point, in the real world it seems increasingly the case that the messenger and the message come ever closer to becoming one in the same.
It may not have been fair or good journalism (although journalism and entertainment are also coming closer to becoming one in the same), but it was inevitable that a personal meltdown by Russell would become news, given his exposure in the days immediately prior.