Our thoughts are with photographer Lucas Mebrouk Dolega who was covering the street protests in Tunisia who is now in a critical condition after sustaining head injuries on Friday from a tear gas canister fired by a nearby police officer.
A passenger in a car waves for assistance as a flash flood sweeps across an intersection in Toowoomba, 105 km (65 miles) west of Brisbane, January 10, 2011. Tsunami-like flash floods raced towards Australia's third-largest city of Brisbane on Tuesday, prompting evacuations of its outskirts, flood warnings for the financial district and predictions that the death toll is likely to climb. REUTERS/Tomas Guerin
Rupert Murdoch's iPad only newspaper "The Daily" is getting closer to launch (reports say the proposed launch of January 19th was delayed due to technical glitches) and others are launching similar pay-for publications. Along with rumours of an imminent iPad2 and Apple's competitors rushing to launch their own tablet devices, it seems to me much more likely that people will once more expect to pay for their news as opposed to expecting to get it free. They will now have a device to easily download and read news and look at pictures and video immediately. Maybe the much heralded notion that the sometimes faster, but unsubstantiated, social media generated news would be the death knell of main stream media (why should I pay for the news when I get it free from the net quicker?) might have been a little premature and could actually be one of the factors that contribute to people expecting to pay for quality news viewed on hand held devices. What do you think?
What makes me raise this question is the fact that many of the pictures on the Reuters wire from the floods in Australia were sourced from Facebook and Twitter to compliment the pictures shot by our staff photographers. The key differentiating factor was that Australia chief photographer Tim Wimborne was able to track down the originator of the material to verify its authenticity, pay for it and then transmit it for publication on mainstream media. The viewer of these pictures is able to trust what they see and read even though it was generated by a citizen journalist. Maybe I am wrong and people just want to believe what they see on social media and place no value on news and pictures checked and doubled checked by journalists?
Heavy equipment sits submerged in flood waters in an industrial area of Brisbane January 13, 2011. Flood water in Australia's third-biggest city peaked below feared catastrophic levels on Thursday but Brisbane and other devastated regions faced years of rebuilding and even the threat of fresh floods in the weeks ahead. REUTERS/Tim Wimborne