More Than a Flickr of Interest

Spontaneous photos of the French employment riots show the power of Flickr to encourage what blogger Rebecca Blood calls“collaborative journalism.”

“Most of us can’t wait to “break” a story to our friends, whether we’ve just witnessed a car accident, a celebrity sighting, or discovered that friends who were dating have broken up.”

The down side to unlocking everyone’s inner reporter will be a loss of privacy suggests a San Francisco Chronicle article :

“Camera phones threaten to turn everyone into amateur paparazzi,” says law professor Daniel Solove of George Washington University, an expert on privacy law. “We are witnessing our personal space shrink because of the way technology is being used.”

I made similar observations in a recent posting titled the Paparazzi Ethic.

Blood focuses on the positive upshot of coupling ubiquitous cameras with an aggregating framework like Flickr — the combination allows and encourages individuals to contribute pictures that tell stories of public interest.

Flickr members are now more inclined to document what they see, knowing that they can share it with others when they get home,” she writes, adding: “I don’t know what tools could make it this easy for other kinds of journalists to assemble a compelling story in pieces.”

Apropos of that thought I searched under “collaborative journalism” and found The Echo Chamber Project, a self-described “an open source, investigative documentary about how the television news media became an uncritical echo chamber to the Executive Branch leading up to the war in Iraq.”

Robin Good wrote about the project and interviewed its leader, Maine documentary film maker Kent Bye. The writeup includes pointers to an outline of Bye’s tools and methods to encourage documentarians to create similar projects on themes of interest.

I’ll stay alert for more tools and tips in this collaborative sphere.

Tom Abate
‘Cause if you ain’t Mass Media, you’re Mini Media