Ed Driscoll

Mo Better Blogs: Homemade News Hits The Road With "Moblogs"

Paul Thomasch of Reuters looks at moblogs, short for mobile weblogs:

Cranking out a column after a presidential debate or publishing a prize-worthy photo of the next catastrophe just got a whole lot easier — no matter where or who you are.

Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and others have started to offer simple-to-use tools that let anybody with a digital camera or personal computer create blogs and produce homemade news.

When twinned with new technology like camera phones and handheld computers, it’s now possible to publish pictures or jot notes from anywhere: the street, a beach, a restaurant. Seconds later the information is posted to a Website for the world to read — and suddenly you’ve got a mobile web blog, or moblog.

“Text messaging and camera phone have put two powerful storytelling tools in the hands of millions of potential correspondents around the world,” Robert Niles, editor of the Online Journalism Review at University of Southern California’s journalism school, said in an e-mail exchange.

“So it is now inevitable that when something newsworthy happens in public, someone will be there to document that event online instantly.”

The recent tsunami in South Asia gave evidence of moblogs’ power and widespread use. Shortly after it struck, dispatches began appearing on blogs, often beating mainstream media to the unfolding story. One such blog was Waveofdestruction.org, created by Australian Geoffrey Huntley and made up of video and photos taken at the scene.

Naturally, this being Reuters, there’s no mention in the piece of Glenn Reyolds or Pajamas Media, each of whom has been looking to make laptops, digital cameras and camcorders the centerpiece of one man reporting.