Stanford Fellow Imagines Every Cell Phone as Citizen Media Outlet

Erik Sundelof is a Reuters Digital Vision Fellow at Stanford University is developing a tool to allow people to send images or video with text messages attached to an e-mail address so it is posted to a website. That’s been done in a number of ways, of course…InTheFieldOnline has the distinction of being open source, and people aren’t restricted to one site but can send the messages anywhere and have the posted. The main aim of this is to assist citizen journalism, and help remove the filters between people and the news. Sundelof isn’t against just the traditional gatekeepers of mainstream media but also against people filtering out news they don’t want to hear. So Sundelof is against Google News because he thinks it allows people to filter out what they don’t want to hear…
Sundelof said that citizen journalism via mobile phones avoids some of the problems with its online counterpart because the information is coming from a particular phone with a registered user. The issue is to check where those people are when they send the message, which can be done via GPS (in those countries where it’s common) or by triangulating the base stations, which needs the help of the carriers…and mobile carriers won’t listen to smaller operations, so “you end up needing Google, because they can get the attention of cell phone providers”. I’m pretty sure “Google” is an example of a big, hip company rather than the only option…