Saturday, July 09, 2005

Mobiles in a Crisis: 'pocket journalism'

Much has been said on the response to the London attacks: here I wish to focus attention on the role of mobile phones in feeding back information to the news channels and emergency services in a way that allowed direct access to witness information.

A BBC article -Mobiles capture blast aftermath states:

"Within minutes and hours, news of explosions filtered through other blog sites and many moblogs - blogs which use mobile phone photos - collected the images.

The BBC News and Sky News websites, among others, immediately responded and called for readers to send in their images, footage and accounts of the events.

Around 1,000 photos and 20 pieces of amateur video were sent in to the BBC News website, with many being featured on the site.

"Within minutes we were receiving people's written accounts and their still pictures," said BBC News Interactive editor Pete Clifton."


The L.A. Times has an article: Cellphones Change the View of Disaster :

"Shortly after bombs ripped through London's transportation system Thursday morning, U.S. and British television networks began airing the first footage of the aftermath — dim images of shaken commuters streaming through a smoky underground tunnel.

The video provided an immediate and intimate look at the scene but was hardly polished or professional. That's because it was shot by passengers with mobile phones — the first widespread use of that technology in covering a major breaking news story."

Obviously, technologies of collective particpation are changing not only the face of journalism and news gathering, but also the networks of information flow and cooperation.

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