Mobile photo/video journalism

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The image above is a screencap of a local television news report that was put on the internet; it features footage of a fire scene as taken by a bystander’s cameraphone.

This report is a superb example of how the news gathering/viewing process has been fundamentally changed.

Twenty years ago it would not be uncommon to see footage of an incident as captured by someone on their camcorder. At that time, they were quite expensive, and not nearly as ubiquitous as the mobile phone with camera. Up to 85% of mobile phones in use today have camera functionality. Now, a great number of people have the ability to reach into their pocket or purse and capture breaking events around them. That material then has a life online after the broadcast has occurred.

One of the more prominent and recent examples of this was the execution of Saddam Hussein. The event was captured on two mobile phones.

This article from goes into greater detail about the impacts and drawbacks of this phenomenon. It points out that while the benefits are clear [no camera crew to deploy, easy uploading & sharing, etc.] the downsides that exist with other image capturing devices still exist [hoaxes, spurring & documenting criminal activity, etc].

With all of the grand thoughts about how this will change, one thing has stayed the same. The video at the most basic level is one thing: content. And we know what content is.


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