When a reporter moonlights as citizen journalist: "News is more than a mobile photo"

by Nicole Martinelli
Oct 30, 2018 in Miscellaneous

Robert Coxwell, a multimedia journalist at the BBC, wasn't assigned to cover singer Amy Winehouse's death.

But Coxwell found himself in her London neighborhood of Camden when it happened, so following his reporterly instincts, he found the address of her house and stopped by.

Noting the snarl of news crews and passersby, Coxwell, too, snapped some pics of the scene with his phone, posted them to his Twitter account and soon found himself tagged as an eyewitness.

His picture (above) was picked up by news outlets from as far away as Los Angeles and Venezuela and media requests for interviews for eyewitness accounts also streamed in.

In deference to his employer, Coxwell turned them all down and sat back to watch the brouhaha -- gaining and losing thousands of Twitter followers in a few hours -- unimpressed by the role of social media in breaking news.

"News is more than just an eyewitness and a mobile phone picture.

In fact, if you look back at the coverage of Amy Winehouse's tragic death, the only way social media had an impact on the story was the rush of celebrities publishing their condolences. In real times that simply meant a few less phone calls from journalists to publicists."

Via BBC College of Journalism Blog