Tim Pool doesn’t have a fancy camera, high-tech equipment or a news organization to back him. But like most of us, he has a cell phone.
A 25-year-old protester from Chicago who came to New York’s Zuccotti Park in mid-September to join the Occupy Wall Street movement, Pool was one of the thousands evicted from their makeshift home early Tuesday as police raided the site in full riot gear. As members of the media poured downtown, many were denied access to the park, meaning much of the live coverage and updates would have to come from the protesters themselves. Around 1:30 am, Pool switched on the camera of his Samsung Galaxy S II, and began streaming live from Ustream, broadcasting the raid and mass arrests live online to more than 100,000 viewers. “We’ve seen one of the scariest, heart-racing nights,” he told viewers. “The eviction of Zuccotti Park and it’s really bringing everyone together.” He’s been the eyes of the movement ever since.
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As the head of The Other 99, an independent media group that has been covering the Occupy movement for the past six or seven weeks, Pool has been streaming from the Occupy movement for 14 hours straight without sleeping since the eviction, awaiting a decision from a judge on whether or not protestors will be allowed back into the park. As he tells it, after his own battery began to die, he plugged his phone into a friend’s MacBook to keep the livestream from going off the air. “We got down to 0% battery and were down for about 20 minutes,” he said. “Someone bought me another battery. Then someone donated another battery.”
Along with a few other members, The Other 99 has used social networks to gain notability as one of the main Occupy news sources, posting dispatches on a dedicated site, wearetheother99.com. Eyewitness reports, photos and videos are logged everyday, and as the movement heats up, so does demand for the group’s coverage, a verification that alternative media is on the rise. What’s the goal? Pool and his fellow malcontents say they aren’t satisfied with American mainstream media coverage, calling the medium largely corrupted by the corporate world. Instead, as he often takes time to tell his audience, he’s here to show what’s really going on. “I believe that there’s a lot of politics on both sides, but that everybody wants the same thing but that we can’t agree on how to get there,” he says over the air. “That’s what I’m learning from Occupy.”
Next to his live feed, commenters weigh in from Twitter and Facebook, many praising Pool for his non-stop dedicated coverage. “I’m far from a hero,” he said. “I’m just a guy with a camera.” And the future of journalism.