Thursday, November 27, 2008

Mubai attacks first reported on Twitter and Flickr

As I write this, I'm viewing pictures and reading reports of the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India. But these images and reports are not on "traditional" news websites. The pictures are on, and the reports on

In fact the latter micro-blogging service, which I often mention and use a lot, was probably the first medium to break the news of the attacks. The world of news is changing, and the phenomenon of "citizen journalism" is becoming significant, particularly in the area of "breaking news". Sites such as NowPublic and GroundReport are often ahead of the mainstream news media. However, in my opinion, the professional reporters and editors score heavily (and probably always will) in terms of detailed reports, verification and analysis.

The great thing about citizen journalism is its immediacy and lack of censorship. The drawback is the lack of verification. But there is one more factor. The police in India apparently asked Twitter to block their service, since the terrorists also have access to the twittered information. That's where things get tricky.

What's your view? Is citizen journalism a good thing?

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