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It’s an Explosion and a YouTube Moment

When I worked at the Allentown Morning Call more than 20 years ago,  there was a twisted, melted photographer’s camera from the 1940s or 1950s tucked away on a top shelf in the bowels of the photography department.  

 It was part of a mini-monument with a memorial plaque to a long forgotten photographer, who I believe was a stringer, at either the Morning Call or Evening Chronicle — there were two papers back then – who raced to a fire and died at the scene in an unexpected gas explosion. I assume that memorial once had a more prominent display at the paper. I am fully relying on memory on this story, so I must contact the now Morning Call to see if that camera is still about and to check the facts on the story. I do believe that memorial should find a home at the Newseum in Washington, DC. As it seems will the whole of the Morning Call some day.

The thought of that memorial came back to me as as I was reading a ode to citizen journalism that reads in part:

The second that Sunrise Propane exploded into a mushroom cloud, a million thoughts ran through the minds of people like Mr. Riossi. An earthquake. A plane crash. A terrorist’s bomb. Followed by: A YouTube moment.

Indeed,   the 19-year-old Carmine Riossi Jr:

got so close he could feel the heat, he said, eyes wide as he recounted details of the explosion he carefully documented on his phone and posted on YouTube within the hour.

The headline is: Everything’s on fire, run for your cameras!

Sometimes that might not be the best advice — unless you want to be first citizen journalist who died for his or her YouTube moment.



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