Saturday, July 09, 2005
History's New First Draft - Newsweek World News - MSNBC.com
Even as the last shockwaves of Thursday’s horrible bomb blasts ripped through London, the first photographs and eyewitness accounts had begun to circulate. But it wasn’t through the mainstream media that many of these stories and pictures first gained traction. Through photo sharing Web sites like flickr.com and individual and group blogs, the citizen journalist played as vital a role in disseminating information this week as any brand-name media outlet.
...What happened Thursday is not done happening yet, nor will it be for a very long time. But one lesson that may already be gleaned is this: it is no longer newspapers, as the old maxim goes, that write the first draft of history. Cable news may offer instant images, but it has always been the role of the written word, meaning newspapers, to capture fleeting events and distill them into historical record. But by the time the first editions of print newspapers hit newsstands Friday morning, citizen journalists had already written that first draft, and in some respects the second and third draft, online. Factoring in Wikipedia’s coverage of Thursday’s terror, you might even say today’s papers are finally getting around to offering history’s 2,801st draft.