The first photo of the airplane crash last week, Miracle on the Hudson, was taken by a passenger on a ferry with a cell phone and uploaded to the web via Twitter.
I am continuing to follow my undergrad field of journalism as it evolves into e-journalism. In 2008 online news overtook tangible printed media and stories everywhere predict the death of the newspapers. Some, myself included, believe we are entering a golden era of journalism.
When I left NYC in mid-2007, I was embarking on completing my last grad course for my master's in Media Studies as Renzo Piano's building for the New York Times was preparing to open. Under the radar, the NYTimes online news was preparing for a revolution in reporting news. My friend in NYC periodically updates me with what is happening there and this week told me of her tour of the NYTimes building. When she told me she noticed that the creative journalists in the online area use Macs while the print area journalists are on PCs, I wasn't surprised. Last fall stories predicting the death of newspapers, the NYTimes in particular, were everywhere. The best story detailing how online innovation is exploding using the NYTimes as an examample is New York Magazine's story last week, The New Journalism: Goosing the Gray Lady, which is about how renegade cybergeeks saving the NYTimes.
Back around the turn of (this) century, fires in the Sangre de Cristo mountains in New Mexico (where I live now) were best covered with online news submitted by citizens who could report on site what was happening. The Santa Fe New Mexican provided online links to the news, providing real-time coverage of a serious threat to the area. This was the canary-in-the-mine for me, alerting me that the shift was starting. Eight years later, as the financial crisis hit, blogs are mainstream and other information sites like wikipedia allow linking.
For an example of how this is changing us and changing how online news is telling the stories, read: 1) Frank Rich in the NYTimes A president Forgotten but Not Gone and note how he links out to broaden his story about how Bush is smaller than life and how vast the wreckage is; 2) NYTimes op-ed by Nicholas Kristoff, If This Isn’t Slavery, What Is? to see how the NYTimes is allowing new tech/media tools like LinkedIn, Facebook and Digg to expand readership; and 3) this story in Esquire by Tim Heffernan on how the Bush administration events on a timeline link up with tech innovations like blogs, youtube, wikipedia, etc. I did a study for a new media class on how Bush couldn't manipulate the news coverage of Katrina because blogs gave voice to the real story. I should publish it online -- had I not moved from NYC I would have expanded this as a thesis.
(note: I have to scoot off to an event but will come back and post links in the above paragraph).
Update: links added to last paragraph.