"Twitter Journalists" stoke the flames of revolution in Iran using citizen media

The cyberworld has been a buzz the past few days over the video of a woman dying on camera. That video of Saturday night's killing soon made CNN, and every major news outlet in the country.  Bloggers, and pundits from major news sites are examining the video, and the comments are overwhelming.

One major objection to the video is the lack of confirmation, or collaboration of the event. Most journalists were kicked out of Iran, and Iranians armed with cellphone cameras were left to fend for themselves. This was truly an exceptional circumstance since a journalist was nowhere to be found that instant. I don't even think there was time to call a doctor.

The video of the woman's (identified as Neda Soltan) moment of death was disturbing. You could see her eyes roll back into her head, and her entire torso go limp. What people found most disturbing was the repetition of the video, 3 to 5 times during a news report, and countless other replays on the internet. No doubt, this will be a major ethics exhibition for journalism forums for months to come.

The event, as gruesome as it was, might also mark the beginning of a new era. Some are describing the news events out of Iran as a TV news revolution. So far, no other example quite so vividly illustrates the power of the citizen journalist. Major news networks, and local newscasts are looking like web pages. It is now common to see grainy amature video on a lead story. However, this story goes further than that. It made me realize that a single posting on the web can suddenly make international news, and inturn cut through all the journalistic filters in our business. Hey, just throw it on the air, without verification, without all the moral, ethical, and journalist questions like, "what exactly happened, and who recorded the video." So it went on air, what the heck, it was all over youtube anyway.

CNN is seeing an increase in their i-report submissions. 4000 submissions in two weeks, 1600 this past weekend alone. They have their work cut out for them as self proclaimed citizen journalists post un-edited, un-verified material. Countless of hours are spent just authenticating such video, and it's hard when your source lives deep inside Iran. It also represents one segment of growth in an otherwise ugly job market for journalists. The other bright spot is the fact that social sites are striking fear in the core of Iran's government, and may very well be the catalyst that unites citizens in overthrowing a despostic regime. Credit an array of cit journalists.

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