I keep seeing people share major news stories with this directive: You have to watch the video.

Dashboard camera footage depicts Sandra Bland’s arrest during a traffic stop, days before she died in a Texas jail. Her confrontation with the officer, who forced her out of her car and held her to the ground, is the latest in a string of incidents caught on tape that raise concern over police treatment of black suspects.

In a series of videos targeting Planned Parenthood, undercover pro-life activists ask employees about how they recover and distribute fetal tissue for research. Like LiveAction’s videos of girls posing as potential clients at clinics, these clips represent 21st-century efforts to expose the abortion giant through the Internet.

Easy to take and share—and hard to argue with—digital videos have become a significant force in today’s fight for social justice. As journalism doctoral student Kimberly Davis writes for ThinkChristian, media have always served as an instrument in activism, “from how the printing press revolutionized the way we communicate important issues to the shocking image of Emmett Till's battered body in a casket—an image which was a catalyst for the Civil Rights movement.”

Nearly two-thirds of Americans carry phones that can shoot pictures and video. Our social media platforms center on these amateur captures: YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat, plus all the uploads to Facebook and Twitter.

Copwatch, a grassroots group filming police activity on the streets, has boomed more in the past year than its 25-year history, organizers told The New York Times. Participants include friends of Ferguson’s Michael Brown and Baltimore’s ...

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