Thursday, July 21, 2005

Citizen Journalists to CBSNews.com

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

(image via flickr)

Ever since the rise of the digital camera and, soon after, the ubiquitous camera cellphone, news organizations have been relying on submissions from individuals to supplement their broadcasts. Then came the London bombings. Now, like it or not, we live in the age of citizen journalists.

The rise of the citizen journalist comes parallel to a time of internal questioning within the Fourth Estate. The recent unveiling of Deep Throat -- for, we might add, money -- returns us to the crowning moment of investigative journalism, just as Judith Miller's incarceration and the fall of Dan Rather (brought about, incidentally, by citizen journalists) bring up questions as to what are the responsibilities of the vocation. According to BroadcastingCable.com (Link via iwantmedia):

"CBS is gearing up to solicit video clips from the average Joe and Jane, a move that has burgeoned following the citizen coverage of the London bombings via survivor's cell phone video.
"Speaking to B&C after a presentation at the Television Critics Association press tour in Beverly Hills, CBS Digital Media President Larry Kramer said that among plans for the new-look CBS Web sites is the ability for CBSnews.com to solicit submission of video news clips from the public (the burgeoning 'citizen journalism' movement).

"'What we haven't done yet is formally set up the address and tell people if they have the footage to send it here, because I don't have enough people ready to go through it,' Kramer said.

"'But it's in the budget, and we are getting hired up. There will be an email address and drop where people can send stuff and describe it and our editors will look at it and decide.'"

This, surprisingly, sounds like Al Gore's plan for Current Tv (Could Al Snore of the dreaded Dutch Elm disease ... actually be ... ahead of the curve? Did The Corsair jump the gun in condemning him?)

"...During his presentation, which outlined CBS.com, CBSnews.com and CBSSportsline.com, Kramer also said that a streamlined effort has now given CBS Digital Media the ability to sell a single advertising placement across all three websites."

Clever. The Corsair will continue to keep his eye (the one without the pirate eye patch) on the bold maneuverings of Larry Kramer.

1 comment:

Steve R said...

What's interesting about all this is the potential end result. Gore is neither early nor late. CBS ditto. The real question is 'why' do people make content, and what do they want to do with it once they've made it.

What most maintream media thinkers assume is that people want 'fame' which equates to mass audience. So that would mean that if i had some great video, i'd rather send it to CBS than say a blog. But alot of what's happening in the peer production world says that may not be the case. It may be that people want to connect with other people - to share thier ideas and build realtionships. If that's what's driving user-content, then user-content will be drawn to spaces that respect their work, and give them a community to participate in.

That will make scale a liability rather than an assett, since a rock concert with 20,000 in a ampitheatre is far less fun than a small hall with 1,200. For Current - the challange is to connect with a small passionate community of change oriented young viewers, who have historically opted out of TV in favor of web, im, sms, and other 'small media' community tools.

But - it's fun to see the energy around user-content beginging to bubble up.