The New New New Journalism
Moments of intense tragedy have a way of violently birthing new ideas. The London Transit Bombings are no exception.
Several UK Media heavyweights speculate in today's Guardian
on the media mini-revolution that took place within Thursday's carnage. Within an hour of the bombing, news organizations were flooded with images and eyewitness accounts from digital cameras, mobile phones and blogs. Many heralded this new, instantaneous newsgathering as a 'media revolution' and the birth of the 'citizen reporter'. While it was no doubt revolutionary, I wonder at what exactly was revolutionized in the smoke and confusion under the streets of London.
The majority of modern newswork revolves around collecting information. Journalists are seldom at the scene of a tragedy, and must rely on eyewitnesses and other sources of primary information. Prior to the advent of portable and affordable digital technologies, reporters had to rely simply on the memories of their sources. Now, in a sense, journalists can access the senses- sight and hearing, anyway, until we figure out a way to transmit smells on wireless networks- of people at the scene. In this context, reportage is revolutionized into a more visceral, immediate experience.
What hasn't changed, I think, is the need for the professional reporter. The more information produced by an event, the more we need someone who can synthesize the disparate bits of an experience into a meaningful narrative. There are gifted storytellers among us, and their services are even more necessary in a digital age.
In any event, check out the Guardian article. Important perspectives for all us bloggers and erstwhile journalists out there.