Work - Citizen Journalism

Big blast at an oil depot in Hemel Hempstead this morning, and most of the coverage on all forms of media seems to have been provided by people in the vicinity. Photos are good, video footage is still lagging behind in quality terms, and the media orgs are appealing for people to send in what they can.

The whole citizen journalism is going to be a big issue next year, IMHO. There are huge issues about rights, residuals and quality to be addressed. Plus there's a very vexed question that the broadcasters are ducking at the moment surrounding editorial control. Case in point: one viewer on the BBC reporting seeing queues outside petrol stations at 07.00, not an hour after the explosion. The text is read out and within a couple of hours the police have to issue appeals to motorists not to panic buy.

Give the public a voice and the signal to noise ratio in news changes dramatically. Just listen to a 5Live phone-in one day.

Wonder how difficult it would be to stage a modern day update of Orson Wells's infamous War of the Worlds radio broadcast from the 30s. "We're just getting messages in from viewers of bright lights in the sky over Swindon..."

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