Blogging the London Bombings
In the true British tradition of resolve and resiliency, the photoblog We're Not Afraid accepts e-mailed defiant images... many of which are even humorous. And you don't have to be British to participate.
And, because so much of the immediate aftermath was captured on camera phones and video phones, the London bombings may have become the first global event to be documented primarily through personal digital media:
Because tight security prevented news crews from quickly reaching the bombing sites, the cellphone footage was all that was immediately available from underground. Its instant embrace by traditional news networks underscored how an evolving technology can take on new and unexpected roles.
"You forget how many people have these phones now and how much more of the first minutes of an event you're going to see," said Chuck Lustig, director of foreign news coverage for ABC.
"It's a harbinger of what's to come in terms of citizen journalism," said Jon Klein, president of CNN/U.S. "These days, you just have to be in the wrong place at the right time, and you too can cover the news."
Thursday's attacks marked the first time cellphone video played a significant role in the coverage of a major breaking news event, a technique that could transform television news, analysts said.
"With more and more people carrying cellphones with that kind of function, you're probably going to see a lot more of that amateur news video," [media analyst Neil] Strother said. "It potentially makes everybody a pod-casting journalist."
- The Pomo Blog makes an interesting observation that yesterday, while the onslaught of traffic brought down the BBC's website, its RSS feed stayed live.
- London police gave priority cell phone services to rescue personnel, which in part explains why mobile phone service was disrupted in the hours immediately following the bombings. Civilian cell service was later increased using "half-rate coding," which expands capacity but with lowered sound quality.
- Police are eager to speak with anyone who might have used a camera phone or video phone at a bombing site, in hopes that they might have recorded something that could aid in the investigation.