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July 17, 2005
Citizen Journalism, or "Ghoulish Voyeurism"?
From Smart Mobs, a link to a provocative view by the Guardian's John Naughton on citizen journalism.
Technology, he writes, offered "those enthusiastic cameraphone ghouls" a "way of not attending to the pain of others. Picture-messaging to broadcasters offered them the chance of 15 minutes of fame. But if I had to decide between the girl who chose to stay and help the victims and the fiends who vied to take their pictures, then I have no doubt as to where true humanity lies."
I suspect for many people, taking cameraphone photos was less a conscious stab at fame than a largely unconscious way of coping, creating a certain distance from an incomprehensibly horrible event. Still, Naughton's view is a sign that citizen journalists will face many of the same challenges in covering such events that "professional" journalists always have.
UPDATE: Dan Gillmor points to a good analysis of what citizen journalism on the London bombings means.
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