NewseForum was a project by journalism students to report on the movement in real-time

Shortly after the occupation began, on March 20th, members the Department of Journalism at National Taiwan University (國立臺灣大學 or NTU) set up a occupation tent on-site and began coordinating news reports which they posted on their Facebook page, a project known as the NewseForum (新聞e論壇). Members had been present on the night of the original Legislative Yuan occupation and had set up a Line group to coordinate their reporting on March 19th, although the group existed before the movement. Their Facebook page shot rapidly from 5,000 likes to over 120,000 likes and grew from 20 students to over 90 people over the course of the movement, and the group came to include participants from many universities, not just NTU.

A particularly crucial event in which their updates were significant was the attempted occupation of the Executive Yuan on the night of March 23rd and NewseForum later compiled personal accounts of the victims of police violence during the incident. Much of the rapid growth of their Facebook page to surpass 80,000 likes occurred after the events of 324. 

Organization was done non-hierarchically, with a division of labor between different working groups, photographers and reporters based out of different sections of the occupation as communicated through Facebook, Hackpad, and Line, and division of labor between the tasks of fact-checking and editing rather than a hierarchical division of labor as in a traditional news organization. Members of NewseForum rapidly found that their news reports were being used by mainstream media to supplement their own reports.

Photo credit: NewseForum/Facebook

Reporting on 330 by NewseForum involved a large degree of cooperation between reporters in different parts of the demonstration and two editorial stations, one on Ketagalan Boulevard and one by the Legislative Yuan, and included an interview with Lin Fei-Fan (林飛帆). The visit of the White Wolf (白狼) to the Legislative Yuan also involved reporters getting close up with potentially violent gangsters. Efforts were made to produce reporting on different perspectives of the movement, including LGBTQ, indigenous participants, and others, participants in the movement at the grassroots level such as food vendors and food distribution volunteers, the Untouchables’ Liberation District, as well as reporting on efforts to assist the movement from abroad and even opposition to the Sunflower Movement.

After the end of the movement, NewseForum held a crowdfunding campaign on Flying V in order to raise funds to publish a book about the record of their experiences and ended coverage, although there was some contention within the group about whether to continue reporting on events which occurred after the withdrawal from the Legislative Yuan, discussion over what the core principles of the group were, eventually leading to the decision to continue reporting in a new format in cooperation with other post-Sunflower civil society groups such as Watchout and g0v.


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Photo credit: 中岑 范姜/Flickr/CC