It's no secret that Occupy Wall Street's flagship operation in Zuccotti Park has a media team of sorts. Originally, they and their hodgepodge array of equipment were kept in a tent, but the team moved in October to a $400 per month room in Manhattan and Wired.com got a look inside and interviewed the unofficial media headquarters for the nationwide OWS movement.
Occupy happenings are live streamed by their media team through Global Revolution, which claimed it has been live streaming footage since Sept. 17. Wired reports that the activists monitor hundreds of live stream feeds, publishing the best:
“It’s really important that it’s decentralized so people can tell their own stories,” said [the 26-year-old, bandana-bedecked man named] Spike. “We get to report these stories before any mainstream media do. We break the news, and they pick it up.”
In terms of actual location, Wired reports that the team is "skiddish" about disclosing location:
“We don’t need right-wing wingnuts firebombing us,” said Spike.
That may be an extreme case, but security is a legitimate concern. That day, Nov. 9, a portion of the Occupy St. Louis website suffered a type of attack called a SQL database injection, said a media team member who goes by Jay. He’s an active participant in Anonymous who works in IT security by day.
And part of the reason they moved was to protect their equipment. NPR reported back in October a representative as saying in addition to shooting and editing footage, they have to keep people from stealing. Wired has more on theft and police seizure of equipment:
Global revolution sent a laptop, 4G hotspot and webcam to Occupy New Orleans. But in late October, the volunteer who had set up most of the tech ran off with the laptop, plus the money from the online donation system he himself had installed. Other thieves infiltrate occupations and gain the trust of media groups — before sneaking away with equipment and moving to the next target.
The night before Wired.com’s visit, Nov. 8, authorities seized equipment from three livestream operations. While it’s not clear that’s legal, the seizures do slow down the operation and raise legal problems that Occupy is still trying to solve.
Right now, the OWS media team works on Dell laptops purchased from EBay for $400 total, although Wired reports they have larger aspirations:
Lorenzo Serna fantasizes about a multimedia outfit, consisting of a wearable camera and a heads-up display, so he can see his own video feed, watch the chat stream coming from viewers around the world, and respond in real time.
“Dude, you’ll be like a livestream cyborg,” said Jay. “That will be awesome!”
In addition to monitoring live streams for the "semi-official Occupy online video hub", the Occupy media team monitors Twitter and chat lines. Using a program, which Wired reports is unclear if it were purchased or pirated for use, the team is able to grab video or images for us on their site.
Visit Wired's original article for more photos inside the OWS media headquarters.