Cal fires: broadband, digicam ubiquity enable these"citizen" videos of tragedy to hit the Web with force

With little room for debate, the most dramatic doemstic U.S.

With little room for debate, the most dramatic doemstic U.S. news story this week is the terrible fires raging in much of Southern California.

cnnvideocalfires.jpg

The loss of thousands of homes and the evacuation of hundreds of thousands pale any technology angle into virtual insignificance. That said, the fires- and the growth of high-res digital video cameras available to consumers and ubiquitous broadband networks available to upload these horrific scences to YouTube as well as to broadcast and cable news is undeniable.

As of 2 p.m. Wednesday, CNN senior vice president/editorial Nancy Lane said it had received about 2,000 submissions of personal videos and photos, of which about 300 were approved for use.

I show some of them at the top of this post.

Don't think this is something new? Guess again.

"While the fires covered a wide area, the numerous submissions might also suggest the escalating rate at which citizen journalism is catching on," writes the Baltimore Sun's tv critic Dave Zurawick. "CNN received 619 submissions after the Minnesota bridge collapse in August and 600 in the wake of the Virginia Tech shootings in April."

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