Fooling around with the new CNN iPhone application – which was released today. (You can read the Associated Press story here.) Is this new ap worth $1.99? Probably not.
Still, this reworking of existing technologies reminds us again that communication and journalism are being transformed. On my phone, I’m watching a video posted a few minutes ago by a guy half-way around the world. The video shows flooding caused by the tsunami that followed a 7.9 earthquake in the Samoa Islands. The video, presumably shot on a mobile device, was posted using CNN’s new iReport feature, which invites people to upload news and video.
From a protest in Iran to a natural disaster in American Samoa, it’s not difficult to imagine the benefits of this new citizen journalism. On the other hand, it’s not difficult to imagine the abuses either.
It doesn’t matter. We won’t unring the bell. For better and worse, the rush of technology will continue to change how we live. We’ll just have to manage as best we can.
The CNN application also becomes the latest test of whether people are willing to pay for online news. There are costs associated with the gathering and the delivery of the news, whether it’s in your neighborhood or on the far side of the world. It will be one of those times when you get what you pay for.