Yvonne’s Weblog

Citizen Journalism


The events of 11th September 2001 have been broadcast around the world in hundreds of different images, most of which have become infamous in subsequent years for the way they captured the moment.   Some of the images which have been used were captured by professional photographers and journalists, but some were filmed by tourists who happened to be present at the time.  This use of citizen journalism in such a major news broadcast highlights the new era of journalism which has taken over, in which the public capture their own perspective of the news and share it with others.  This has been made possible by recent technological advances which have produced digital video cameras and mobile phones with cameras, so that the budding journalist has their camera in their pocket wherever they go.  In cases like 11th September, amateur videos and professional ones were combined to produce the news reports, as there was no way that a journalist could have been ready with their camera poised to capture an image of the first plane crash.  Instead, an amateur video was released, filmed by a tourist who happened to have their camera in their hand just as the first plane hit.


Similarly, the events of 7th July 2005 have been recorded in images captured by people who survived the bombings. Professional journalists couldn’t get photographs of the blown up trains on the underground, but the victims took photographs on their mobile phones which have since been published to document what happened that day.


(taken from http://www.softvote.com/…/07/coordinated_lon.html. accessed 21.10.07)


(taken from http://www.timporter.com/firstdraft/archives/000468.html. accessed 21.10.07)


(taken from sionphoto.blogs.com. accessed 21.10.07)

These pictures have been used by newspapers and television news to document the London underground bombings as no professional could have taken them. nationalgeographic.com points out that people caught up in the bombings “used camera phones to take images that were relayed across the world, providing hundreds of eyewitness pictures. It was a first for such a major breaking news story.”

Most mobile phones are now equipped with a camera, meaning that it isn’t just professional photographers who carry a camera at all times. By capturing these eyewitness images of events such as September 11th and the London bombings, the victims are allowing the rest of the world an exclusive view that no journalist could capture.

Sources used:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/5181396.stm (accessed 19.10.07)

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2005/07/0711_050711_londoncell.html (accessed 21.10.07)

http://www.youtube.com (accessed 21.10.07)


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