The Tools Of Citizen Journalism
UK TechCrunch posted an interesting profile of Demotix, a London-based startup that allows users to upload pictures (and soon video) that are in turn sold to news outlets. The recent events around the Israel/Palestinian conflict were a perfect showcase of this type of user-generated content site (though, obviously, a tragic one). Citizen Journalism isn’t new, nor are sites that allow anyone to upload photos for licensing. But TechCrunch points out that other ventures suffered from being a bit ahead of their time. Now cell-phone cameras are much more ubiquitous, allowing people to take and upload a photo within minutes. Phone cameras are improving and now users have the ability to add wide-angle and macro lenses to them. Add to that ubiquitous Wi-Fi plus mobile broadband in ultraportables and netbooks and people all over the world have more ways than ever to document important events. The site’s name, Demotix, is derived from demotic — “of the people”. I find it amazing and wonderful that people can use mobile technology to democratize media coverage.