Friday, July 07, 2006

telling it true

A year ago today I had been flickring for only a few months when the London bombing hit. (For those of you unfamiliar with the verb “flickring” think “mainlining” -- but with digital imagery instead of heroin. Flickring is communal in the same way an opium den is communal: I’m flickring, you’re flickring, we’re all flickring. Together. But that’s not the point I'm here to make.)

I was brushing my teeth when the news hit that morning about the bombings in London; I got online, toothbrush still engaged, and started Googling like mad and emailing friends in London to make sure they were all right.

The news couldn’t come quickly enough. Everyone was afraid to say anything incriminating, so they were saying nothing, and showing less. Then I tried Flickr. I searched on “London+bomb” -- and saw this:



And this:


And this:


And this:


I found a pipeline I could rely on.

(To see any of these in their original context, just click on the pic.)

Over the next weeks, by the hour, I watched the story unfold in images uploaded by Flickrites in London. Their storytelling added a humanity to the coverage that wasn’t present in the newsfeeds. It was a new way of telling a story that was immediate, unfiltered, and true.

Here’s the photostream of the group that started up one year ago today – at this writing there are 1,228 images (starting with today and going back in time) so you might want to get comfortable.

London Bomb Blasts Community -- Remembrance Day Slideshow »

2 comments:

patrick said...

I've taken to doing the exact same thing when something newsworthy occurs in public (such as the Dublin riots a few months ago). News agencies should start to get worried cos the power is shifting to the people!

me said...

when i heard the news of the London attacks, i went to flickr first. just like the Madrid bomb attacks, I watched as the moblog shots rolled into Flickr and documented the horror before it even hit the mainstream news.

citizen journalism is the future...and like patrick said, the "old media" boyz (let's be honest, it's still run by men) are afraid to lose their power.

and it's not just news agencies who are fighting the shift to the user. education is locked in the same sort of battle with the MySpace generation.

i have a friend who works at one of the main TV networks in NYC. He told me that the pres of his network gave a talk and told them that blogs, podcasting were "all a passing fad."

The shift to user generated content is here to stay. It's not going anywhere and it's impacting us in ways we don't even realize yet.

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