Contractor fires citizen journalist in Kuwait

Contractor fires citizen journalist in Kuwait.
It’s a sign of the times in our new world of citizen journalism, and one of the big problems the genre faces downstream. The Seattle Times reports that Tami Silicio, the cargo worker who took this photo — which was published by the Times Sunday — has been fired by her employer in Kuwait. She said she hoped the image would help families understand the care with which fallen soldiers are returned home. Since 1991, the Pentagon has banned the media from taking pictures of caskets being returned to the United States, and her employer apparently had no choice but to give her the boot. They also fired her co-worker husband.

There’s a lot that could be said about this, but I’m going to limit comments to the idea that Tami was functioning in the capacity of a citizen journalist. One, she was fired for violating a Pentagon policy that applies to the news media. Does this then mean that private citizens, who function “like” the press, are, in fact, members of the press? Whoa, Nelly! This is a nice can of worms, methinks. Secondly, think of the ramifications of this in light of all the concern over cellphone cameras turning the entire citizenry into investigative reporters. Oh my!

If you can allow yourself to step back far enough, what’s happening is a further crumbling of the institution of the press and a further enabling of an uncontrollable citizen media. Gawd, it’s a great time to be alive.

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