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March 30, 2010

The Russian Subway Bombing: Phoning it In

Kultory subway station.jpg
Although it might not seem noteworthy at first, this struck me as one of the more interesting photos coming out of the coverage of the subway bombing in Russia yesterday. It shows citizens exiting the Park Kultury subway station, site of one of the attacks — although the caption doesn't state how close to the event the picture was taken.
The photo gets a lot more interesting after reading the last seven paragraphs of yesterday's post at the NYT Lede blog. There, a woman by the name of Catherine Fitzpatrick, who blogs about Russia, is interviewed about the surprising the lack of citizen journalism yesterday. Not only were few pictures and videos uploaded — as compared to what we've seen from Iran, for example — but State-owned media took control of the story within the hour.
What the picture drives home is that Russians weren't without the means to scoop the story.
(photo: Egor Barbatunov/AP. caption: Commuters make cell phone calls while leaving the Park Kultury subway station that was hit by an explosion, in Moscow, Monday, March 29.)
  • acm

    I dunno — can you be sure that those are all web-enabled texting phones? there are still such things as phone-only phones out there, and I’ll bet there are more than a trivial number of them in eastern bloc countries…

  • idanohs

    we’re all berlitzinners here

  • gmoke

    There may be something going on here. Globalvoicesonline had a post last week about the blogger coverage of the local elections which suggests that citizen journalism is happening in Russia, at least on some issues:

  • tardigrade

    It can be the difference between people needing to be ‘all there’ to protect themselves and/or most did not have the feeling of some distance and security from the incident to turn on the camera.

  • tenacitus

    Even in Nigeria which has a lot less infrastructure than Nigeria about a quarter of the people have smart phone that will surf the web, play videos, music and on whic you can watch TV. There are many models of phones that Americans have never heard of that people in the rest of the world use. It is very silly and ignorant to assume that smart phone penetration is low in Russia especially when blackberries outsell iphones all over the world. Furthermore, phones that you pay a high markup for in the US are sold for a lot less in other countries since they can get the manufacturer to sell their generic versions of the same phone for less.

  • Julia Grey

    Look at all those leather coats!

  • Jason

    To me this just says that I will be forced to stay out of the job market in the photo journalism field for even longer. Especially because I don’t have a web-enabled camera phone. Apparently, the camera phone makes the every day citizen into a thoughtful, ethical, non-biased journalist.

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