Mail & Guardian has a relatively new service called News in Photos which has really taken off. Essentially the service is a citizen media site which enables readers to submit their photos for publication on the site.
The site has some pretty cool features like the much talked about Swarm which shows what people are looking at in real-time (or close to it). The site also has a handy widget for your blog’s sidebar that shows photos on the site as well as a feed so you can subscribe to updates in your feed reader. Those of you who use iPhoto 6 might want to try running the feed through iPhoto. iPhoto supports photocasts which are pretty much the photo equivalent of podcasts. Visitors can also find photos using a variety of tags.
The citizen media angle really appeals to me and not just because people like you and me get to submit our content to a major news site and potentially have that content exposed to the massive readership Mail & Guardian enjoys (I seem to remember a figure of a few hundred thousand page views a month mentioned somewhere). What appeals to me is how these sorts of sites (and related services like Flickr, YouTube and even blogs) really empower us to make our mark on the sequence of events that comprise our shared history.
Mobile devices with good quality cameras as well as digital cameras make it really easy to capture significant events and share those photos and videos with millions of people on the Web. I remember reading that when London was bombed on 7 July 2005, many of the first images and much of the initial video footage came from people who happened to be there with their cameras and mobile devices. This is citizen media/journalism and it is powerful stuff.
Make a point of visiting Vincent Maher’s blog for updates as the site develops (Vincent is the guy who came up with the idea in the first place).