Woolwich attack highlights power of mobile technology as a news source

Breaking news is no longer the preserve of established broadcasters, thanks to the camera phone and social media.

Mobile technology enables the public to witness events such as the Woolwich killing with the filter of time and geography removed.

A man covered in the blood of his recent victim, still holding the weapons, explains to a passer-by with a camera phone the motives for his appalling attack. Peppered with political messages and carrying a clumsy apology to “women who had to see that”, the bloodied man is not enraged that his macabre and twisted actions have been filmed, he is gratified. This is a 21st century terrorist “press” conference, conducted on a pavement in Woolwich in the middle of a Wednesday afternoon.

The video obtained by ITV News, but evidently not actually shot by them, is uploaded and disseminated to the globe, through YouTube, Twitter accounts, Facebook pages, on emailed links, on reddit, Tumblr. Meanwhile on Twitter another eyewitness, rapper “Boya Dee”, whose timeline of mundane tweets previously focused on cheesy jokes, Arsenal and the appeal of Mila Kunis, was able to give a firsthand, dramatic and colloquial account of what he saw. It did not need a reporter or policeman to relay what he witnessed: “The two black bredas run this white guy over then hop out the car and start chopping mans head off with machete!!”


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