Not CNN or MSNBC but Twitter and iPhone

by Sachin Balagopalan on January 15, 2009 · 5 comments

When it comes to citizen journalism, it seems like Twitter is the medium of choice for breaking the news lately - at least that was the case today with the US Airways Hudson River crash - the recent Mumbai attacks being the other one. Around 3:47 pm this afternoon I was at my desk in the office when I hear my trusty iPhone vibrate and I see this tweet on the screen …

… Retweeting @jkrums - There’s a plane in the Hudson. I’m on the ferry going to pick up the people. Crazy.

The tweet originated from a guy named Janis Krums @jkrums who was on one of the first ferries to arrive at the scene. He took the picture above, on his iPhone and sent it via TwitPic, which is a third-party service a lot of Twitter users use to send pictures. He was able to break the story to literally tens of thousands of people almost instantaneously.

The fact that he was able to prove his story by being able to send a picture along with the message is huge. You not only get to see the images of the event as it unfolded but it adds credibility to the story. “A picture is worth a thousand words” couldn’t be farther from the truth in this case. With Twitter you’re limited to only 142 140 characters so you can’t really say much but looking at the image I was able to figure out that the plane was intact and not disintegrated and judging by the people standing on the wing and in the rafts there were definitely survivors and the causality rate was probably minimal if none at all.

This may be one of the most striking instances to date of instant citizen journalism and unlike the Mumbai attacks this one has a good ending.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Cheapsuits 01.15.09 at 9:27 pm

Correction you're limited to 140 characters not 142 words.

Sachin Balagopalan 01.15.09 at 9:37 pm

@cheapsuits correction indeed, it’s been a long day! - thanks !

ewing2001 01.16.09 at 12:01 am
Thom 01.16.09 at 1:45 am

What a wonderful vibrate that was…The outcome was tremendous and there are so many hero’s today just from that…Our value system is still alive and intact…Oh and by the way, I love this new journalism reporting. A sign of the times and it’s very exciting.

Ross McCulloch 01.19.09 at 7:52 am

I’m delighted to say Janis Krums (@jkrums) has agreed to take questions from followers of my blog, Third Sector Forums’ users and folks on twitter. The best questions will be posed to Janis and the full interview will be posted on The Lab.

So what are you waiting for…you can add your questions to the comments section of the post:

I’ll be taking questions over the next 24hrs, right up until 20:30 GMT on 19th January 2009.


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