By peter katz, March 23rd, 2011

Reporters from the major news stations have been blocked from covering a violent protest in a foreign land, but this doesn’t mean an international audience can’t watch the chaos ensue. Rioters armed with the newest smart phones are streaming these events live to the Internet. And this time, CNN is trying to catch up. This is the future of journalism.

Right now, the process of streaming live video via mobile devices is far from perfect: it’s slow, unreliable, and tends to have low picture quality. Once the technology improves, however, endless channels of this footage can reach the masses. Like a TV director, viewers will be able to switch between multiple perspectives from different mobile broadcasts covering one event. Instead of the bulky camcorders of the past, small lightweight Androids and iPhones will be able to stream this content in real time.

Potentially, people will be able to rely more on civilians to deliver news, and less on professional journalists. Image quality from phones are improving, and eventually these bystanders will shoot live video in high definition. Also, TV networks have a limited budget for expensive camcorders and professional crew. On the other hand, hundreds of bystanders equipped with phones typically have the ability to cover more ground. When something newsworthy happens in public, anyone carrying a cell is there before the press.

In addition, social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter can create communities around the streaming content. Viewers will be able to comment about what’s happening around the world at any moment. This audience can rely on popular web personalities who will act as curators and commentators for the live news. Each unique perspective will attract their own niche audience that CNN or Fox News may ignore.

Eventually, the hunger for instant, live news will not be served by big news corporations with costly equipment and star reporters- but by millions of ordinary people with the newest smart phones. And with this technology, who knows? The next Anderson Cooper just might be you.

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peter katz is an award winning filmmaker based in Los Angeles. Peter has produced genre films that have screened all over the world from the AFI Fest to the Rome Film Festival. His first picture Home Sick starred Bill Moseley from The Devil's Rejects and Tom Towles from Henry Portrait Of A Serial Killer. Next Peter worked with Tobe Hooper (director of Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Poltergeist) on Mortuary, which premiered on the Sci Fi Channel. Most recently he was a producer on Pop Skull, a psychological ghost film, that has received great reviews in Variety and numerous film web sites. Currently, Peter is developing projects across various mediums including film, comics, and the web.


  • We watched the G20 protests from Tononto via an iPhone and Ustream. It was live action from the midst of the protest. Further, the person with the phone was able to communicate with us and answer questions via Twitter.

    The future is now. The only limitation was battery life.....and not getting hit by a baton.

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