CO – Empowered citizens

Here is the link to the audio document we listened to in class. We heard an extract from 7’35 to 9’16.

You can exercise by listening to the rest of the recording :


DAVID THORNBURN : So, one of the great things that we are learning about the new technologies is how they exponentially enlarge the principle of unexpected outcomes of unintended results. Clearly, the people who manufacture the cell phones have put a photographic possibility into them are doing it because they thought consumers would like to take pictures of their wives, babies, sweethearts and whatever. It turns out that an ancillary and politically very potent use of these things is to protect citizens from unlawful arrest, from beatings by police who are out of control. It offers citizens an opportunity to record events that are happening as they occur. The great dramatic example we saw in today’s forum was where the photographs that were taken in the London Underground when the explosions occurred. So, what it does mean, in a certain sense, is that every citizen is empowered potentially as a journalist, as a reporter to the world of events that surround him or her, and that is an important thing.

So, another great conclusion, very widespread conclusion that most people now would accept to afford about the Internet, but was very much reinforced in today’s discourse, is the idea that the distinction between the professional and the amateur – the journalist who has the credentials and reports the news and the consumer who sits there and reads newspapers – that barrier has been breached. That distinction is no longer nearly so powerful as it once was. And there are many, many amateurs in the blogosphere and elsewhere who are driving the news, who are correcting mistakes in the news from media or are making contributions directly to the mainstream media.


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