An American media exec reports from London

Eric Braun, Vice President for News and Convergence with Raycom Media is in London attending a conference and writes with this report.

I wasn’t really close enough to anything to offer any really salient observations on local media coverage, save two points.

Some of the most profoundly memorable pictures of this tragic event were not shot by professionals, but rather by folks with cell phone cameras.

London has a very robust 3G phone network, and the carriers here market cameras on virtually every phone handset. As a result, there were lots of phones in the hands of people who were nearly themselves victims. So, we may journalistically define 7/7/05 as an urban tragedy that was a watershed for cellular coverage capabilities in the hands of the people.

All of the local media outlets have been using lots of images from eyewitnesses to supplement the eyewitness accounts. Tonight, “Eyewitness News,” is truly that.

Point two, also related to cellular technology. The London public cell network was shut down by the authorities for much of the day. Partly to conserve bandwidth for public safety forces’ handhelds, but also out of concern that there were more bombs and that they might be triggered by cell phone (as in the Madrid train bombing).

We’re going to take a hard look at our newsrooms’ reliance on cell phones. Those “old fashioned” two-way radios worked pretty well today.

And, our cellular communications are ultimately at the mercy of “powers that be.”

Good advice for everybody. Thanks, Eric.

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