In an iReport World, Who Can We Trust?

Real or Photoshopped?In the mid-2008 media world, every network, blog, and news website wants to break the big impact story in times of developing news. For hours after a 5.3 magnitude earthquake centered near Chino Hills, ~30 miles from LA, rocked Southern California, all of the major networks and their websites continued carrying the news with a red BREAKING NEWS flag attached. But other than shaking up millions of people and scattering items off of shelves, there was no “news” to break (at least as of 4pm, more than 4 hours after the initial temblor).

The photo above first aired on CNN and was sent in by someone who was supposedly in the supermarket at the time — what CNN terms as an iReporter. Sure, it is very possible that many of the paper goods were shaken to the ground during the 15-20 seconds in which the ground, building, and everything else shook. But how are we to know when to believe whether a photo or video is faked, fabricated, or Photoshopped? CNN’s iReport Terms of Use addresses nothing about photo manipulation or regulations. And, to be fair, it’s not just citizen reporters that purposely fake photos for effect or attention, there are the memorable lessons in photojournalism fakery brought to us by the likes of Reuters, the LA Times and most recently, the Iranian government (and here are more.

Considering the small size and low resolution of the above photo, I won’t venture to investigate the possibility that it was digitally manipulated or whether it’s an honest to goodness eyewitness photo. But below, you’ll see a few surveillance camera or eyewitness camera viewpoint of what is clearly either real footage of the earthquake and it’s after affects, or simply fakes.

REAL:

Surveillance video from Incycle Bicycles store in San Dimas (~12 miles from the epicenter)

Continue reading “In an iReport World, Who Can We Trust?”

Chino Hills Earthquake: My First Quake!

I waited 3 years to feel one and it was not an insignificant shake at 5.8 5.4 — epicenter 30 miles east of the house. Naturally, all the action was on Twitter — I went straight there to confirm and immediately knew that it was felt as far as San Diego and some appeared to feel a stronger quake than I did (see second photo). Moments later it was confirmed by USGS — a 5.8 quake.

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Murray Fromson Blogs Again

One of my pet projects over the past few years has been to get Murray Fromson to blog again. I met Murray at USC, he was in his last year teaching journalism and even though I never had a class with him I spent time talking sports, politics, newspapers, Internet, and even broke fast at his place a few Yom Kippur’s ago.

A couple years ago I migrated his blogspot (blogger) blog to wordpress and retrained him for quick and easy posting, but it wasn’t until this week, after he took me to California Wok, that he’s finally kicked his blogging senses back into gear. Apparently he was busy traveling the world and finishing up a book on Lincoln or something. I encourage you to keep up with his posts — they’re great and insightful — and in the near future look for his entries to appear in the Huffington Post.

Check out this colorful intro to Fromson’s well-informed perception of where the Obama campaign stands now, tainted, most naturally, by the general bitterness in the Southern California air surrounding Sam Zell (and company)’s dramatic mismanagement of the LA Times. Then click on and read the rest of the post: Continue reading “Murray Fromson Blogs Again”