Friday, December 30, 2005

Citizen journalism

Yesterday I ranted about how we’re under ever increasing amounts of surveillance. Today I’ll rant about a real revolution in the broadcast and print media - citizen journalism.

I was watching BBC News 24 the other night (I had no choice – Dad rules the living room when he’s home). Whenever I’m watching any channel with a ticker scrolling along the bottom, I always get distracted and end up paying more attention to the ticker than to the main broadcast. Along with all the usual snippets of news and sports stories were details of how to submit pictures and videos of news events by email, and even details of how to submit them directly from a mobile phone – including video by 3G.

That’s awesome - unthinkable even just two or three years ago. Looking back at the London bombings, we were shown videos from the bombed carriages that people had captured on their phones, startling images of the panic on the streets, and that gut-wrenching image of the destroyed bus – all captured by people who were right there, on the scene as and when it happened.

We started to see something like this when 9/11 struck, with images caught by people with camcorders at various locations. But the London bombings have shown that it’s moved in to an entirely different scale. There are those who complain and say it’s just the news broadcasters getting people to do their work for them and profiteering at others’ expense and it’s all evil and blah blah blah. Well to them I say, shut the hell up you idiots. First off, no one’s forcing you to send content in. Secondly, the BBC keeps the copyright with the creator and does not take ownership. Lastly, get that chip off your shoulder, you idiot.

This is a good and wonderful thing. And once again, the world has become a heck of a lot smaller.


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