We’re all embedded journalists now

I was thinking about how our overseas “work” during the Global War on Terror came home, as it were, to our televisions with the placement of embedded journalists. These were newspeople who climbed into tanks and ran through the mountains of Afghanistan and the deserts of Iraq with the US military. Being embedded meant becoming truly a part of a fighting unit and not just some goofus with a camera standing hundreds of feet away from the action. They were in the thick of it and it made for pretty interesting coverage. Very often, these reporters were up close and personal with the war. Some of them were injured. Some of them died.

But that’s pretty somber so I’m going to change the subject, sort of.

How are we embedded journalists? Easy – imagine yourself at the Carole King/James Taylor “Troubador” tour (oh, how I wish I was there!) rocking along to the sweet jams. You’re not there as a person covering the event, you’re there to enjoy it. But in this age of easy content production, it’d be not hard at all for you to put together a short video of your experience or, at the very least, a nifty little review on your blog or another music website.

Political rallies, monster truck rallies, monster movie screenings, and screen door factory workers’ strikes are all places where we can, by dint of our presence/participation (depending), become a piece of the action. UStream and its ilk allow us to effectively become live coverage of the things that matter to us, like the King/Taylor concerts. :)

Riots in your neighborhood? Head on over there for the exclusive scoop! Alien invasion? Get over to the landing site and get an interview with Krex-Kulab the Galactic Conqueror. New flavor of Ben and Jerry’s premiering across town? Grab a spoon and a Flipcam and get ready to produce some Pulitzer material!

I realize that the tenor of this post has quickly become a mockery of my original intent, which was to point out that it is easy for us to both produce valuable content and be a part of what we’re up to. As it appears, it might actually be too easy to fully embrace the role of a journalist embedded in LIFE. We’ve all seen perfect examples of the vigilance of those who watch the watchers, or rather, who gawk at the gawkers:

Car vs. pedestrian. Crowd gathers. Cell phones come out. As long as one of them dials 911, the rest are free to film and snap photos.

Protesters protesting something. Stand on the edge of the crowd and upload the shot to Facebook.

OK, so I guess that I’m coming down on the side of citizen-journalism-sucks-and-is-a-sad-consequence-of-technology, which I hadn’t expected to do. Oh well. What do you think?

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