The Apple iPhone 4, The GoPano and Citizen Journalism

The rise of citizen journalism is no doubt on the increase and with improving technologies it becomes easier to start up as a citizen journalist.

Some mainstream media companies have not only identified and supported citizen journalism, they have increasingly institutionalised this kind of journalism – a case in point is CNN’s iReport platform, which against all odds has prevailed and is getting stronger by the day.

Technologies such as phone cameras and mobile internet (again on phones) have increased the ubiquity of news gathering and sharing whilst  platforms/tools like WordPress, Facebook, Twitter and Discqus have increased the reach of citizen journalists and thus the chances of being heard.

Taking my usual daily dose of technology news today, I came across yet another tool which, coupled with Apple’s iPhone 4 (which many young people in developed countries already carry), can shoot 360 degree videos of the world we live in. ¬†The tool GoPano allows for 360 degree panoramic videos to be taken with an iPhone 4 held upright. The possibilities are endless! Latched onto a car bonnet, it looks like a sophisticated antenna and can be easily disguised as one. Thus it can find use in recording 360 degree videos of elections, protests, etc. whilst pretending to be driving past and without calling unnecessary attention to yourself. Whilst most existing and easily available camera technologies allow for a flat view of the world, this allows for a round and realistic view and affords some form of interactivity between the viewer and the 360 degree videos.

This tool may find use in the hands of mainstream journos and perhaps inform the design of mainstream journalism camera hardwares.

Whilst it is arguable that this tool is for the privileged as those living on less than $2 a day cannot afford it, I would like to say it is (1) a tool that will further improve news gathering and reporting, and (2) a tool that can be used to further call attention to the still underserved populace .

P.S.

I do not yet know how much this device costs or its availability, but I promise to share this information once I have it, either in a future post or as an update to this one.

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