While watching the coverage of the tragedy at Virginia Tech, I noticed that the most interesting video came not from the networks, but from cell phone video filmed by students. In a way it was a flashback to the terrible bombings in London back in 2005. The most vivid images I have from that event were from a cell phone video shot moments after the bombs went off in the underground.
We are at a point where we can see video of an event, taken by a pedestrian or passerby, moments after it happened. Even if the video is grainy, and the sound isn’t good, it is the most powerful video there is. To see something as tragic as what happened at Virginia Tech, in such an intimate and frightening way, really puts things in perspective. It is a humbling, remarkable, and scary thing to realize that we have the ability to record history as it happens sitting right in our pockets.
VT student Jamal Albarghouti captured the most recognized video. You can view it here.
Also, CBS's Public Eye Blog has an interesting question about potential unintended consequences of soliciting video shot by ordinary citizens.