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How a Webcam Became Broadcast Newsworthy

Tech & Gadgets

With all types of television network coverage, radio broadcasts and live Internet streaming coverage for mainstream media outlets, it came down to a grassroots approach that gave Boston residents the consolation they needed in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing tragedy. A Framingham, Massachusetts resident with a police radio scanner and a web cam helped neighboring areas get closure at the end of the harrowing week.

The Boston Marathon bombings turned the week into a frightening nightmare for the city, the runners and the race supporters in attendance. Every news outlet was hungry for the latest information to keep everyone up-to-date. Unfortunately, their eagerness often resulted in inaccurate information making its way into their reports throughout the week. Viewers, radio listeners and Internet enthusiasts heard reports from major news outlets, trusting their reputation and resources, only to be disappointed when those sources, however unintentionally, led them astray.

It is legal for citizens to monitor, via certain police radio scanners, their local police and fire department’s every day functions since they work at the service and on behalf of the safety of the public. As a taxpaying citizen, it is also a helpful way for residents to stay abreast of the health of their own neighborhood, regarding crime, car accidents, amber alerts and other public hazards.

An anonymous resident in Framingham, Massachusetts became a reliable independent news source for the people of the Boston area with the use of a personal police radio scanner and a webcam. The webcam was broadcasting a live-streaming video of a police scanner, tuned to the local police station. Those viewing and listening to the real-time communications between authorities quickly shared the reliable information to their feeds on Twitter and Facebook. Having listened first-hand to the police scanner transmissions, knowing they were privy to inside and accurate information from local and federal law enforcement entities, private citizens’ reports an added layer of authenticity. The Twitter and Facebook feeds gave area residents immediate relief when the suspect was taken into custody and listeners erupted into cheers everywhere.

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