the British blogger has no background in the military, nor did he have any expertise in munitions or military weaponry before he started following what was happening during the Arab Spring. He’s actually a 34-year-old father of one who lives in a suburb of Leicester, and was laid off from his job with a financial company in October (his wife works at the local post office). Much like NPR’s Carvin, Higgins has spent hours building a network of bloggers and social-media users in the region, and essentially acts as a filter or curator of the content they produce — mostly YouTube videos of exploded munitions, which he then identifies using the knowledge he has built up himself as well as that of his social network. Every night, he combs through more than 450 YouTube channels.

Citizen journalism at work: Unemployed British man becomes Syrian weapons expert — paidContent

Wrote a post for journalist colleagues about the need to cultivate “citizen savants” as sources and partners when you are looking to hone the brand of your reporting. 

Check out the now sort of legacy “Breaking Tweets” by Craig Kanalley. Before Andy Carvin, Craig was running a vetted tweet news service. 

Attention is what’s scarce, and by working with passionate citizen savants who are experts, you can gain mindshare and set your journalism apart from the crowd.

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