Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Lessons of Internet age

Filed under
Web

Just days after the London bombings, after which viewers sent captivating video taken by cellphone cameras to networks around England, CNN rode the wave of citizen journalism into its coverage of Hurricane Dennis. Network officials encouraged viewers, on CNN.com and on the air, to send in written stories, video, audio, and images -- some of which was included in the network's coverage.

Most major news networks are rushing to reach out to their viewing audience for images that might make a contribution to news coverage.

Citizen journalism has quickly infiltrated an industry sometimes sluggish to make big changes, and the phenomenon demonstrates that a mainstream industry has learned its lesson from the revolutionary impact of the Internet.

''Companies are actively looking for the opportunity to take advantage of new technology in a way that they weren't a decade ago," said Erik Brynjolfsson, director of the Center for eBusiness at MIT. ''The changes with the Internet took a lot of companies by surprise, and now people see that technology does revolutionize industry."

Although big-box retailers took years to create a large Internet presence, leaving the door open for Amazon.com and others, this time around, news organizations took days -- not years -- to take a relatively new and untested technology and make it an essential part of news coverage.

During the hurricane, MSNBC periodically broadcast commercials inviting viewers to e-mail photos or video to MSNBC to be used on a website or for broadcast. CNN's website drew photos of damaged boardwalks and flooded coastal areas, some of which ended up on the air. Officials at ABC and CBS say that they are developing channels through which the public can submit content.

''These are the kinds of images that will be critical in the future," said Mark Lukasiewicz, executive producer for NBC News Specials & Special Projects.

Lukasiewicz said that NBC has worked on citizen journalism projects for a while and accepted viewer-contributed content in the 2004 presidential election but that interest in the project increased after the London attacks.

''It's very clearly going to be something that's going to have a big impact on how we do our work," he said.

Recently, NBC officials have started to equip both reporting and nonreporting staff with cellphone cameras in case they come upon a news story, as have officials at ABC and CBS.

''We could use it at any time," said Paul Slavin, senior vice president for worldwide newsgathering at ABC. ''We might use it in undercover circumstance. We could make it part of the flyaway kit for any correspondent. We need to make sure everybody has it."

In the next couple of months, ABC plans to create a website that will allow viewers to submit images and video. Slavin expects that some of that material will make it on the air but worries that the network will also eventually start to receive fake material.

Robert Zelnick, chairman of the journalism department at Boston University, said that networks might rely more heavily on citizen journalists as they close news bureaus abroad.

''You can't deploy teams in advance, and there will be a proliferation of incidents that news networks are not positioned to handle immediately," he said.

John Moody, senior vice president of news for Fox News, said that Fox hasn't solicited content from the public but that the network sometimes uses pictures or footage from people who contact the network.

If a network does not find easy ways to incorporate viewer-contributed content into broadcasts, it can rest assured that another network will, which has pushed the evolution of citizen content forward more quickly.

''When you saw the video during the bombing, it set off a light bulb where you think, 'What if somebody else got a hold of that video and I didn't?' " said Marcy McGinnis, senior vice president of news coverage for CBS. ''It's a competitive issue. If we had gotten that video ourselves, we wouldn't distribute it to other networks."

McGinnis said that the network has had meetings recently to discuss how they might incorporate viewer content. CBS4 in Boston already solicits viewers for images and video and has used them in weather-related stories, said Angie Kucharski, vice president and station manager of CBS4 and UPN38.

During CNN's hurricane coverage, the network received hundreds of submissions, said CNN/US President Jon Klein.

Klein said CNN officials admonished viewers not to take any risks for a photo just as the network mandates safety for its camera crews.

''The greater part of the audience was concerned with getting the hell out of the way, but a few, intrepid, maybe crazy, reporter-type people will take a picture before they go," he said.

By Joe Light
The Boston Globe.

More in Tux Machines

Lenovo Accused of Being Enemy of GNU/Linux (Again)

  • Lenovo denies claims it chose Windows over Linux in second row over technology
    Lenovo Group has angrily denied claims it chose the popular Microsoft Windows system over a domestically-produced Linux operating system (OS) in a recent government procurement programme. The company branded the allegations as “slander” in a statement that follows an internet storm in China in recent weeks over the company’s decisions on domestic versus overseas technology. China’s largest personal computer (PC) maker insisted it had suggested using a domestically-produced Linux OS for both desktop and notebook PCs in a recent PC procurement meeting for suppliers organised by the Central Government Procurement Center, according to the company statement on Tuesday.
  • Lenovo denies on voting against preloading domestic operating systems: report
    Lenovo says the report about it voting against preloading domestic operating systems (O/S) are "deliberate slander," and the company "strongly condemns" the rumor, according to a report by qq.com late Monday. Lenovo claimed the suggestion it made was to use a separately made domestic Linux system solution, including in desktops and notebooks, adding that the advice has been submitted. The company has always supported the development of domestic O/S, Lenovo said. The response came after domestic news site guancha.cn reported earlier the same day that four leading computer manufacturers including Lenovo voted against preloading domestic O/S in personal computers in a poll organized by a government purchasing center on May 16.

Qt Contributor’s Summit 2018 and GSoC 2018 for KDE

  • KDAB at Qt Contributor’s Summit 2018, Oslo
    KDAB is a major sponsor of this event and a key independent contributor to Qt as our blogs attest. Every year, dedicated Qt contributors gather at Qt Contributors’ Summit to share with their peers latest knowledge and best practices, ensuring that the Qt framework stays at the top of its game. Be a Contributor to Qt!
  • Krita 2018 Sprint Report
    This weekend, Krita developers and artists from all around the world came to the sleepy provincial town of Deventer to buy cheese — er, I mean, to discuss all things Krita related and do some good, hard work! After all, the best cheese shop in the Netherlands is located in Deventer. As are the Krita Foundation headquarters! We started on Thursday, and today the last people are leaving.
  • Back from Krita Sprint 2018
    Yesterday I came back from 3,5 days of Krita Sprint in Deventer. Even if nowadays I have less time for Krita with my work on GCompris, I’m always following what is happening and keep helping where I can, especially on icons, and a few other selected topics. And it’s always very nice to meet my old friends from the team, and the new ones!
  • GSoC 2018 Week #1 with KDE
    There were quite some implementations out of the pre-plans and were huge. They got me very nervous at first. Such changes meant big updation in the code base and lots of time to have everything in place and with no warnings/errors ( well I can’t say much about bugs :p as they always arise in some cases which I or others haven’t tried, but hopefully they will be much less ).

Security and Bugs

  • After Meltdown and Spectre, Another Scary Chip Flaw Emerges

    At the same time, though, a larger concern was also looming: Spectre and Meltdown represented a whole new class of attack, and researchers anticipated they would eventually discover other, similar flaws. Now, one has arrived.

  • Email Might Be Impossible To Encrypt
  • Email Is Dangerous
    One week ago, a group of European security researchers warned that two obscure encryption schemes for email were deeply broken. Those schemes, called OpenPGP and S/MIME, are not the kinds of technologies you’re using but don’t know it. They are not part of the invisible and vital internet infrastructure we all rely on. This isn’t that kind of story. The exploit, called Efail by the researchers who released it, showed that encrypted (and therefore private and secure) email is not only hard to do, but might be impossible in any practical way, because of what email is at its core. But contained in the story of why these standards failed is the story of why email itself is the main way we get hacked, robbed, and violated online. The story of email is also the story of how we lost so much of our privacy, and how we might regain it.
  • Real Security Begins At Home (On Your Smartphone)
    When the FBI sued Apple a couple of years ago to compel Apple's help in cracking an iPhone 5c belonging to alleged terrorist Syed Rizwan Farook, the lines seemed clearly drawn. On the one hand, the U.S. government was asserting its right (under an 18th-century statutory provision called the All Writs Act) to force Apple to develop and implement technologies enabling the Bureau to gather all the evidence that might possibly be relevant in the San Bernardino terrorist-attack case. On the other, a leading tech company challenged the demand that it help crack the digital-security technologies it had painstakingly developed to protect users — a particularly pressing concern given that these days we often have more personal information on our handheld devices than we used to keep in our entire homes.
  • Software fault triggered Telstra mobile network outage

    The blackout was the third in May, with an outage to its triple-zero service occurring on 4 May after a cable between Bowral and Orange in NSW was cut due to lightning. On 1 May, the telco suffered an outage of its NBN services and 4G services.

Advanced use of the less text file viewer in Linux

less is a very powerful program, and contrary to newer contenders in this space, such as most and moar, you are likely to find it on almost all the systems you use, just like vi. So, even if you use GUI viewers or editors, it's worth investing some time going through the less man page, at least to get a feeling of what's available. This way, when you need to do something that might be covered by existing functionality, you'll know to search the manual page or the internet to find what you need. Read more