The Rise of Brown Moses: How an unemployed British man has become a poster boy for citizen journalism

“I played a lot of role-player games. Believe me, there are a lot of obsessive people out there who could probably put their passions to a more productive use.” How World of Warcraft groomed an unemployed man to become the go-to source for information about weapons and military activity in Syria (There is hope yet, fellow obsessive freaks!)


We’ve written many times about how social media and what Om likes to call the “democratization of distribution” have changed the way that journalism works in a digital age, and how various media players — from The Guardian to NPR’s Andy Carvin — have made the practice of “open journalism” one of their guiding principles. But there is probably no better example of this new form of journalism at work than Brown Moses, an otherwise unremarkable British man who has become the go-to source for information about weapons in Syria.

To describe someone in that way would have been unthinkable even just a few years ago: how could a 34-year-old unemployed man sitting in the front room of his British flat — with no prior training in weaponry, no experience in the Middle East, and no command of Arabic languages — become an expert in that kind of specialized intelligence?

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