Here’s the first example I’ve seen of a witness broadcasting live from a news event with a mobile phone on Flixwagon. It’s very rough — extremely rough thanks to a finger on the lens! — but it’s just a glimpse of what we’re going to see more and more as witnesses are equipped to share what they experience in news.

  • LiamSherborn

    Interesting but would be more so if you said what the news event was. Is this Israel and Katusha rocket attack? The first rule of journalism is a dateline.

  • Bach61

    This is a missile attack in southern Israel, few miles from the Gaza strip border. It took place early morning yesterday.

    The guy also took videos of the damages after the attack:

  • And this is why there will always be demand for professionals. Particularly editors.

  • Karen Zypchyn

    Absolutely agree with the previous comment. This is a prime example of why we need professionals. This is not to say, however, that witnesses to news cannot take good video or photos. But just because you have the technology does not necessarily mean you know how to use it effectively. I teach journalism and my students are always amazed at how much they have to learn, everything from verifying facts to chasing down credible and appropriate sources for stories to shooting journalistically relevant images that capture a story. Love Buzz Machine and all the comments posted, whether I agree or not.

  • Phono-journalism!

  • The thing is, there were no professionals at this particular scene. You get what you get, and the citizens will get better at this.

    i actually agree with both themes here. I’m rooting for the amateurs, but I’m often disappointed, in terms of getting any useful information. I’m especially disappointed when the first pictures of a breaking news event posted to Flickr are of … TV screens. Even in the much-discussed cellphone video of the Virginia Tech shooting, it was impossible to tell what was going on. It was excellent radio — hear the shots — but not useful information.

    Zapruder moments will be almost as rare as before. More often, the first reports will serve only to show “Dude, I was this close …” taken from outside the police tape on the periphery, with everyone else who has been moved away from the scene.

    The role of the journalist is to report on what people do and say. If everyone in the world is publishing, then the role of the journalist will be to report on what people do and say.

  • Nobody’s saying we don’t want professionals or editors. But they weren’t there. The witness was. And next time, he’ll get his damned finger out of the way. But I’ll bet that if I were being shelled, I wouldn’t be very good at holding the camera still.

  • Wild oak

    No doubt this is not a substitute to “the real thing”, but it’s sure a legal complement. The mass will always have the advantage of being… well, the mass :) – everywhere and everytime.

    About editors, well, they probably do an important job but they also decide what we see and further more – what we don’t see.

    With this, every corner of the world will be covered from now on 24/7, giving the picture from within. I’m still chilled when I think of the scene in that movie of those guys lying on the grass. WOW

  • Echoing and expanding on Brian’s point about “citizens getting better at this”:

    From his voice the guy who took this seemed to be a fair bit older than a teenager.

    Personally I won’t be surprised if kids who are growing up using this gear are, on average, much better camera people and editors (leaving aside the question of journalism skills; verification, contextualisation etc).

    The ability to work with multimedia is a new kind of literacy.

  • Why will this particular fellow get better at it? Does he intend to be at more shellings with his camera? In which case, don’t we use that j-word?

    The only ones that can reliably be expected to get better are the ones who do this a lot, under time and other pressures (like bombs, I suppose).

    Mind you, I do see the point. We have a great example up here in Canada, where a citizen taped the RCMP tasering a guy to death.

    Triggered a review of taser use. Caught the RCMP lying.

  • I think I recognized that guy from his thumbprint!

    In Neal Stephenson’s sci-fi novel ‘Snowcrash’ he writes of people known as ‘Gargoyles,’ who wander about fully loaded with audio/video recording gear that is always running. Their hope is that they’ll come across something that they can upload onto the net and sell access to.

  • Jeff, you must have missed MTV’s Street Team ’08 live-vlogging Super Tuesday on Flixwagon. We had Nokia N95 phones and 20-odd of us were out pounding the pavement and broadcasting from our respective states. There were no rockets involved, and it was a planned venture, but we were reporting live.

  • So, you mean this is the first you’ve seen on Flixwagon as opposed to Qik? Or was Scoble’s Davos trip not quite the breaking news you mean? It’s true, most of what is on Qik on Flixwagon to this day is like the early days of what’s-for-lunch Twitter, so I guess it just depends on where you set the bar. I ran into Jocelyn Elders on campus at Georgia Tech and put her on Qik, but the kickoff of a campus condom tour isn’t quite rocketfire.

    As to the pro-am argument that is obviously alive and well among some of the nervous dead-tree-and-cellulose naysayers here, I think if we’re ALL going to benefit from emerging technology like Qik/Flixwagon and the ever-present “witness,” the established “real” journalists need to quit putting us down and figure out how to mobilize us. There are more of us (schmucks) than there are of you (professional newsers), so we’re going to be where the story is more often than you. Be smart: get to know your local bloggers, invite us to your press club happy hours, read our stuff, vet our claims, and build up a relationship of trust with the handful you think are worth it. We’re just the 21st century version of your rolodex, use us. And HELP us. You’re the professional “officer class,” we’re the infantry called up in a time of need — to tell us where to point and shoot and then make the most of our distributed presence. (Or get out of the way. :-))

  • Shelbinator, Yes I’ve seen and written about and used Flixwagon before.
    & Alex…
    I mean that this was a case of a witness, pure and simple, who was at the scene of news, unexpected, and captured and shared it live. Scoble and MTV were not doing that. They were scheduled to be somewhere and knew what they’d get.

  • Every “citizen” who sees the video will remember the dude with his finger on the lens, and everyone who plays around with a Flip camera with their friends, for instance, will have a little more of a feel for it when something big happens.

    It’s not that different from the days when a tourist would capture the plane crash with a Super 8 and sell the images to an agency. The difference is that it’s more likely for a bystander to be better equipped and have direct access to getting the images out.

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