When man bites dog, who’s the first to report it? Don’t assume it’s your local paper or CNN. These days, "our man on the scene" is often a swarm of amazingly prolific nonprofessionals posting up-to-the-minute stories and pictures of breaking news from their laptops. Their amateur dispatches vary wildly, from small-town sites tracking potholes to some 40,000 "citizen reporters" filing stories for half a million daily readers of South Korea’s hugely successful OhmyNews. Even the pros are turning to indie operators for help. After the London blasts in July, the BBC relied on bush-league shutterbugs with digicams and cell phones to assist with its coverage. Here’s the lowdown on the new proletariat


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