Photography And Citizen Journalism

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Jack Lail writes of some of the animosity that sometimes happens in the blogosphere over trends in news media. Lail, however, writes about more than that. He discusses folks finding their way.

He writes about Glenn Reynolds and Craig Newmark:

It is ludicrous to suggest — as people nonetheless have — that either Craig Newmark or Reynolds are out to destroy newspapers. Both are extremely good readers of newspapers either in print or online, and have demonstrated over years a high regard and respect for the practice of journalism wherever they find it.

Both are guilty of being adept and enterprising and lucky in utilizing a new technology in the American spirit of exploring a new frontier.

The companies that popularized digital cameras and later the companies that popularized cameras on cell phones, for example, are never made out as villainous as both Reynolds and Newmark have been despite the hallowed spot of the Brownie in camera history.

Which brings up another point. Do any of you peruse photobucket or Flickr regularly? There is some great work out there and the digital camera has changed the way the masses see through the lense. One of the reasons, in my opinion, is that photography is cheaper to use now.

When I started out in news, I used a 35 mm and had, at best, roughly two dozen shots to get the picture right. We would develop the film in an old storage room and, at its best, it was hit and miss. In small markets, there are no photographers on staff and the journalists had to do it themselves.

I did all right but not great. When digital was introduced, I had a wary relationship with this new concept. I admit it.

Then it hit me, with a memory card I had plenty of opportunities to get the shot I wanted. Not only did I get to get my “art” on, but it saved hours (sometimes a whole day) developing film.

This is also important for non-journalists. There are photographers out there, just average joes, who are taking fantastic pictures. The difference is that new outlets for photojournalism are still relevant. Go to and you will see, the average photographer is not going to be in a war zone, at the inauguration in two weeks or at a protest. Professional photographers are needed to show us the world.

However, citizens journalists are in places that are just as much of value. Don’t believe it, then check out this.

There is a great deal of beautiful and important photography covering news in local communities out there.

And much of it is done with a passionate eye.

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