CNN’s Photosynth Another Leap in Moving Content with New Technology


This video above is pretty amazing. CNN’s John King shows how pictures that regular folks took at the Inauguration can be synthesized into a photographic wall much larger than any single person had themselves. This is called CNN’s “Photosynth.”
At Arianna Huffington’s festive pre-Inaugural gala, I asked John King what CNN was going to do with the famous “election wall” that was so mesmerizing during the campaign. He intimated that this Photosynth thing was coming — but I didn’t really understand what he meant.
We are seeing technology change our news world — and oddly, CNN’s ability to absorb the product from people out on the street — at no cost to CNN — is a lot of the way that Arianna Huffington has done it with her many thousands of volunteer writers, pundits and correspondents.
Kudos to Washington Bureau Chief David Bohrman who I hear is the management genius behind the scenes who keeps driving these interesting changes — and anything that makes Fox look behind the times is OK by me.
More soon.
— Steve Clemons


5 comments on “CNN’s Photosynth Another Leap in Moving Content with New Technology

  1. Rebecca Helm-Ropelato says:

    …again, see the TED video I linked…
    As a voluntary act of good will, I watched the video. You’re right, it’s an amazing demonstration. Thanks.


  2. Nathaniel James says:

    …also, many people often simply want to participate as a voluntary act of good will…
    Definitely true, good will and a dollop of ego-payoff can get a lot done (see Wikipedia, etc.).
    The point is that Photosynth, so far, can’t tell the difference between the crowd that is happy to be sourced and professionals that want to get paid/will sue. Tools like Photosynth work better with thousands of sources, again, see the TED video I linked.


  3. Rebecca Helm-Ropelato says:

    CNN’s project is a terrific example of professional journalism integrating an aspect of citizen journalism participation into a news feature. It’s true, I agree, that often people want to be paid for submissions. But, also, many people often simply want to participate as a voluntary act of good will.


  4. Nathaniel James says:

    Microsoft’s Photosynth, through acquisition.
    CNN’s public trial run for Photosynth was pretty sad compared to the tech’s full potential, which you can check out here:
    Photosyth does much, much better drawing from thousands of photographs, rather than the 600+ CNN was able to acquire. They did a pretty bad job marketing the effort; with CNN’s presence, they should have gotten many more pictures. Sounds like King himself wasn’t able to explain it to you in person.
    The real problem with putting Photosynth to work isn’t marketing, though. It’s limited by our intellectual property laws, as Blaise intimates in his TED presentation. Photosynth could potentially create dense visual guides to the most traversed places on the planet, but it needs access to photographs, and a lot of people expect to be paid for the pictures they take.


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