Soldiers as citizen photojournalists
Meghan Daum, who is often heard in commentaries and features on National Public Radio's Morning Edition, wrote this insightful commentary that contrasts the role of professional photojournalists and soldiers themselves who are photographing the war in Iraq.
Daum said, "Amateur war photos snapped by participants have a certain immediacy, but they lack the punch and power of work done by pros." Daum contrasts the photos taken by professionals, like the photo of James Blake Miller, the Fallujah Marine, taken by LA Times photographer Luis Sinco with those taken by soldiers themselves. Daum said:
Despite all the professional "shooters" doing their best to cover the war, much of the action we see is brought to us by the people doing the fighting. Soldiers record artillery fire with hand-held digital video recorders and post the clips on YouTube. Snapshots taken with cellphones -- some as innocuous as tourist photos, others downright gruesome -- abound on the Internet. In other words, to look at photographs of the Iraq war is, quite often, to see guerrilla photojournalism.
I found Daum's commentary very insightful. I recommend it to anybody interested in journalism, new media and citizen journalism.