Citizen Journalism

Recently, I’ve been looking to purchase a new digital camera. Mine is a 3-megapixel that is about six years old. It’s not necessarily past it’s useful life but there are much higher quality and, most importantly, much slimmer cameras available for relatively cheap.

However, when I was touring the United Center I realized that I rarely have my digital camera with me. Sure, if I’m on vacation or going to a planned event I’ll bring it but otherwise I’m without. What about my camera phone? Well, that’s what I often capture spontaneous events with but at 1-megapixel the pictures lack detail and require context. So lately, I’ve been researching high-quality camera phones. Essentially, I’d like a digital camera with phone capabilities instead of the reverse.

The leader in camera phone innovation seems to be Sony Ericsson with their Cyber-shot lines of phones. While reviewing the various models, I was intrigued to learn of a service called Scoopt. Scoopt allows you to send your camera phone pictures – or any digital picture – to their website for possible publishing. If they are able to sell your picture they give you a cut of the royalties. While I’m certainly not considering a career change as a pap, I do think this type of service will spawn all sorts of relevant and incredible images. In fact, during coverage of the recent school shooting at NIU, the local news outlet was broadcasting video captured from a cell phone within hours of the shooting. Imagine if everyone with a camera phone used a service similar to Scoopt. I won’t lecture about the implications to privacy, or other possible concerns, but I will comment that I view Scoopt as exciting and an inevitable evolution of journalism in an era dominated by “the Internets.”

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