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July 09, 2005

7.7 and citizen journalism

ALTHOUGH MAINSTREAM MEDIA hacks need to hold onto status and jobs, some editors who normally dismiss citizen journalists were quick to use amateur videos and photos of the London bombing--attributing them normally to a person, not a blog. Yet blogs were often at the leading edge of meta-reporting because of the social networking features available to authors. You could actually watch the story about London evolve through cross-links, tags, and group blogs. Some things stand out:

  • Eyewitness accounts from The Guardian blog and the BBC were the best in my opinion. Indymedia.ie provided the best edited flow of second-hand information and helped connect London-based Irish to friends back home.
  • The internet kept people connected when mobile phones suffocated under the demands placed on the network. With a single photo, friends could tell friends they were alright but sometimes it meant uploading images over the internet, not through the mobile phone network. 
  • British reactions to the explosions reflected a people steeled in responses to terrorism and to bombings.
  • In contrast, some American reactions look ignorant.
  • Searches for follow-ups to the events provided different answers on Google, Yahoo, and Technorati.
  • In Ireland, the Sunday Tribune acknowledged the role of blogging. "The attacks in London last Thursday showed how blogging can affect real life. Pictures of pets were rapidly replaced with eyewitness images of survivors in smoke-filled tube trains."
  • In England, Gary Turner reflects on the "elephant-choking journalism" spawned by blogs, always-on internet connections and the omnipresent "Breaking News" graphic.

    I think the problem here really is the elephant choking volume and breadth and depth of media coverage that's available in 2005. From "Breaking News" graphic overload replete with appropriate whooshing sounds, to the multiple news channels all vying for the best coverage, insight and punditry to the camera phones and Flickr groups. Welcome to the new history.

Claus Meyer --"7/7 und das internet"
London Leben -- "Lost explosion mystery"
Neil McIntosh -- "Your eyewitness accounts"
BBC -- "Witnesses tell of bomb blast hell"
Indymedia.ie -- "London attacked"
Gary Turner -- "Trendy Terrorism"



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» Terrordåd och nyhetsmedia from Det perfekta tomrummet
Irish eyes, 0707 and citizen journalism Månhus beta, Bryta nyheter... [Read More]

» The London bomb blasts aftermath from wallies.info blog
Citizen journalism is born. Mobile phones transformed victims into journalists. Amateur photographs and videos played a key role in Internet coverage, for newspapers and even television coverage of the London bomb blasts. [Read More]


I am a professor at the Missouri School of Journalism who founded a citizen journalism site there (MyMissourian.com). I am in Dublin through July 28 if anyone is interested in swapping experiences.
Clyde H. Bentley, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Missouri School of Journalism
3 Neff Hall
Columbia, MO 65211-1200
(573) 884-9688 BentleyCl@missouri.edu

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