Monday, January 10, 2005

Rock Chalk Canaries

"Birds are really sensitive to smoke." From the Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World, a story from last week on a late morning fire at Pet World.  I figured since you maybe hadn't read much news of Kansas over the weekend (other than No. 2 KU's first road win of the season at No. 8 Ky. yesterday by six points), you'd be interested. Picked it up over at unmediated (once removed from Reiter's Camera Phone Report) where yatta  wrote about the "camera phone" credit in the photo bi-line as an instance of "citizen-photographers" capturing images later used in publications.  My first thought was yeah...that's interesting, even though the story is hum-drum, non-newsy inasmuch as none of the animals were hurt, and nine of the first-responders look on as the one who drew the short straw scopes out the building's roof. Back to feeding the fish and cleaning cages at the Pet World.  Cell phone images in the newspaper, very

But then, wait a second.  The credit for the cell phone shot goes to the same person who wrote the article.  A full fledged, story-writing "general assignment reporter" shot the photo with a camera phone, which means that the journalistic scene--a futurasm of citizen-reporters--confronts us with new discord.  I'm wondering, for example, why didn't the reporter have any other sort of camera.  Is the LJW sending its reporters to cover happenings around Lawrence with merely a cell phone (~3.1 megapixels, no less)? Out of film?  Was the reporter merely being resourceful (having left the Nikkon at home)?  And since when do newspapers give bi-line mention to the device, the photographic apparatus used to grab the image? Odd it ies.

Relieved the birds were okay.  

Bookmark and Share Posted by at January 10, 2005 4:38 PM to Media

Yeah, I'm intrigued by how these camera phones are going to be used. I have a high school colleague who found a student shooting pictures of him in class and transmitting them to a friend in another English class. The friend was doing the same of his teacher. The teachers couldn't figure out the point, but it raises some ethical questions.

I know a clothing-optional spa that bans all cell phones "for the comfort of our clients."

Sounds like the Lawrence paper saves bucks by having reporters also shoot photos, even if with a camera phone. Don't need to pay professional news photographers that way.

Posted by: John at January 11, 2005 3:11 AM

It's not easy to say--from what we know--whether the reporter in question was economizing or whether other factors figured into his use of the camera phone. I'm with you that it's interesting for various reasons. Many of the smaller newspapers around KC make use of stringers and other piece by piece journalists, so it makes sense that, as long as the paper can make it to press, the technologies supporting the process matter very little to the editor in chief.

Posted by: Derek at January 12, 2005 10:27 AM

They say that because they don't want people to think their photographs normally look that low-quality. But seriously, buy yourself a cheap Casio digital or something. I know $50 is a big investment, but you'll be glad you spent it when you see the slightly more crisp photo in the newspaper. It's perhaps not as useful for taking peeping tom shots of your neighbors, but there's always a trade-off in life.

Posted by: i forget at January 18, 2005 7:13 PM

I hadn't considered that the "camera phone" tagline could be a ploy for justifying a mediocre image (running it in the paper despite its novice quality). And yeah, as cheap as equipment is, I can't imagine being a photo/journalist and not carrying something capable of better image quality. Then again, what do I know.

Posted by: Derek at January 18, 2005 10:10 PM