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Second Job of the People

So-called citizen journalism--when you, the common man with a separate day job, takes the initiative to report a breaking story as it happens--is becoming a nice way to earn some extra cash.

The Washington Post tells the story of one man who was able to snap timely photos of the New York City plane crash involving Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle and his flight instructor. He later sold his photos to several British newspapers through the British amateur photo site Scoopt, earning $650 for his work.

The rise of digital technology and the ease with which we can capture images and events through photos and video is changing the way the world sees history. Many bystanders who recorded the events of September 11 were compensated; as were those who track unscrupulous celebrities misbehaving in public (these, by the way, often pay way better than actual news events).

In most instances we have cell phones to thank--as in the recent scandal involving Seinfeld star Michael Richards--because people don't always have their video and photo material on-hand. Had video-enabled cell phones been available during Sept. 11, we probably would have had more footage from inside the towers as they fell, and (sadly?) survivors able to send the material would have made a nice wad of cash from it.

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