Engaging People Profile— Citizen Journalist, Justin Auciello, Jersey Shore Hurricane News
When there's a polar vortex predicted, or the electric goes off, or you just want to know what's going on back home in New Jersey when you're on vacation—where do you go?
If you're like over 217,000 people you grab your smartphone and log on to Jersey Shore Hurricane News (JSHN) on Facebook or Twitter for the latest news.
JSHN is the brainchild of Justin Auciello, an urban planner by trade and life-long resident of South Seaside Park who grew up loving the ocean, beach and surfing. But, that wasn't the only thing he loved. When he heard fire alarms go off, he'd hop on his bike and chase fire trucks because Justin said, "I always wanted to be in the know," sharing information with others in his community.
Turns out the digital revolution came along just in time for Justin to catch that BIG wave, too. His early experiences shaped the JSHN concept and shortly prior to Hurricane Irene in 2011, he decided to wield the power of social media and created a real-time news, traffic and weather platform.
Justin is filling a highly needed news gap with JSHN: local, on-the ground reporting and community engagement through a "two-way" news distribution ecosystem. Citizens can report the news that's happening around them, and he provides the "official information from the top," Justin says, "It worked out well, people were so happy during Irene to get news in real-time." While Irene didn't turn into the storm of the century, the reporting experience was a dry run for Hurricane Sandy.
In 2012 when Hurricane Sandy hit, Justin began getting emergency messages on JSHN about people who needed assistance. Turns out the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) was also following the news platform and began communicating with people who needed to be rescued. In the days and months after the storm it became obvious that the news platform provided crucial information during the crisis and Justin was recognized by the White House as a Champion of Change.
Why does Justin do it?
Watch the film and learn how this dynamic citizen successfully manages news, weather and traffic reports through varied social media platforms.