At the Center for Citizen Media, which is a department exploring concepts of citizen journalism at the Berkeley J-School, Dan Gillmor asks whether the ubiquity of hand-held / cell-phone video cameras is leading to a decline in professional photojournalism. He points to the famed Zapruder film as one the earliest and most famous examples of citizen journalism being picked up by mainstream media, and to a handful of other more recent examples.
Comments on the post question both the premise and the conclusion, but there’s no denying that with nearly a billion video cameras on the planet, the chances of a citizen being present with recording gear is always going to be greater than the chances of a pro being on-hand (Gillmor notes that we’re really talking about spot news here). What blogs are doing to journalism, what digital still cameras are doing to the stock photography industry, is parallel to what hand-held still+video will do to photojournalism.
I find it interesting that many readers are questioning whether what we generally refer to as “citizen journalism” qualifies as journalism at all – and they’re doing so in comments on a post from the person who is a lifelong journalist and who practically coined the term. Slashdot picked up the piece, and there’s a good round of comments over there as well.
Pictured: What a good slashdotting looks like to OS X Server, from a bandwidth perspective.