Last week I wrote about watching the publishing revolution in action at The North American International Auto Show. Just a few short days later, we saw another, more distributed example of this total and utter shift with the crash of United Airlines US Airways flight 1549 into the Hudson River. The image below was taken and published within minutes of the accident, and was responsible for bringing down Twitpic, the site that it was uploaded to by Twitter user Janis Krums.

If you have any doubt as to how fast things are changing for mainstream media outlets, do a search on Flickr for images tagged “flight 1549” and “flight1549“. You’ll get over 2000 results for an event that took place just a few days ago. Most of the early images were taken by people who were involved in the crash or the rescue efforts.

For mainstream media (having worked as a TV news writer and producer, I know this all too well) the “scoop” is everything – sometimes (I’m ashamed to admit) “get it first” can even trump “get it right”. My question is, what’s the model when you’re guaranteed to be scooped, most often by the newsmakers themselves, since almost everyone has a photo/video enabled mobile device and so many of us have access to publishing platforms? Apparently it’s interview the guy who scooped you.

(PS: as an all-too frequent traveller, I would like to request UA flight 1549 Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger be my pilot on all future flights. Thanks.)


  1. To assist you in your desire to get Capt. Sully as your pilot, I’ll gently point out that this was US Airways, not United Airlines!

    The whole speed at which that photo went around the globe was incredible. Makes me think I should keep my Flip camera in my purse!


  2. Maggie Fox Author

    Oooh – thanks for the catch, Jen!

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