The shootout at Virginia Tech has marked a giant leap for citizen journalism. On 9/11, passengers in the aeroplanes heading towards World Trade Center made calls on their mobile phones. This time, when the gunman went on the rampage, a Palestinian graduate student Jamal Albarghouti was shooting pictures with his cell phone.
Albarghouti appeared on Larry King Live where King and another CNN news anchor tried to get at why Albarghouti decided not to dash for safety with other students and staffers, but chose to stand fast and record the incident.
“Weren’t you scared? Did you think you were really safe at that time?”
“I am quite familiar with the sound of gunshots, because they remind me of the situation in the West Bank and Gaza. But when I saw it was happening here, in a peaceful place like this, it was hard to believe.”
Dan Gillmor says:
“We used to say that journalists write the first draft of history. Not so, not any longer. The people on the ground at these events write the first draft. This is not a worrisome change, not if we are appropriately skeptical and to find sources we trust.”
Read the full article here: The citizen reporter as eyewitness