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Citizen Photojournalism - New Apps, Powerful Phonecams, May Bring it to Life

Here's the first part of an article I wrote for Streetfight, a publication covering hyperlocal. There are some incredibly cool things happening in this field. Would love comments on how you think this might work in other applications - maybe like Ushahidi except for video and images?


Is TapIn the Future of Hyperlocal?

To be honest, I hate writing about this startup because it was an idea I wanted to pursue myself. But over the past week I’ve been playing with TapIn, a hyperlocal news application created by Silicon Valley software startup Tackable. TapIn launched as a test bed powered by the Bay Area News Group. Available in the iTunes store, TapIn allows users to overlay a variety of pieces of information (deals, news, events) over a local interface. Tap on a news item and you see breaking news from that day. Filter for deals and you’ll see deals that apply to a specific portion of the Bay Area. This is pretty neat but what I was really interested in, more than anything, was the photo assignment engine behind Tackable.

Here’s how they describe themselves.

“Tackable is a mobile photojournalism platform launching in early July 2011 across 34 newspapers in the San Francisco Bay Area. Reporters and editors create photo assignments, which readers complete using their smartphones. Readers also send in live, breaking news photos, helping reporters write better articles, faster. “

The basic idea is totally intuitive. With more and more people walking around with advanced cameras in their smartphones, there is no reason their images shouldn’t be used for media coverage. More to the point, there is no reason that editors should not tap into this ad hoc corps of citizen photogs for images of breaking news or unexpected events. Remember thecrash landing of the plane in the Hudson River last year in New York City? The cruddy image captured with a cell phone of people emerging from the downed airliner flashed around the world. Read More.....


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