Flip cameras turn everbody into paparazzi

Jeff Jarvis put up this post yesterday about a German online tabloid called Bild. The editor of the magazine saw Jarvis with a Flip at a conference and had to have one. He dispatched his staff members to the U.S. to buy some of the cameras, and the editor eventually contracted with another camera company to create a Bild-branded camera and sold 21,000 of them to people in Germany. The result:

Note well that the software on the camera defaults to sending video to Bild. So now the paper has thousands of cameramen all over Germany.

For the past few years, editors of mine have been trying, without real oomph or passion, to get me and my colleagues to use video, to think in terms of using video on stories as well as text. It’s a new multimedia age, they chant, and we’ve got to have video.

Well, we don’t, actually, have to have video. It’s neat, but it needs to be there for a reason. However, that’s a reporter talking. I think that putting cameras in the hands of the public and letting them go crazy, while it will have loads of privacy issues, could be an interesting first step in creating a new system of crowdsourced journalism, where journalists — in addition to what they normally do — sort through the raw footage and information sent in from the public to see if any of it is news.

Could be cool. Could be Big Brother knocking. Not sure yet, but it’s worth a try.

Edit — Interestingly, in another post, Jarvis says that CUNY’s journalism program now teaches all media as if they were one, teaching students to tell stories in print, audio, video and images. Neat. Makes me want to enroll.