Once, there used to be a time when taking a photo of yourself had nothing to do with the "selfie", because back then there was no such thing. Nowadays though, we're all guilty of taking photos of ourselves – come on, admit it – and the front-facing camera has become much more than just a way to communicate with people thousands of miles away. In fact, these days vapid celebrities turn such photos into books! Thankfully, the Australians have figured out a better way to use the Selfie Stick, an instrument many use to take better selfies; they're going to start using them to report the news.
Sky News Australia is to test something called the SmartGrip, which is a more compact and less "in your face" alternative to the selfie stick. The network will be rolling out 12 of these to journalists across Australia, and there are currently no plans to make this a regular item in their journalist's arsenal, instead these will be used to better get coverage back from the scene right away, without having to wait for a full crew to setup, or for a full report to be created. The whole system will hinge on the LiveU LU-Smart app that can send high-quality footage back to a server and then quickly be distributed online or even sent to TV, live as it happens.
An external microphone will be used for these live reports, and while it doesn't seem like something that will take off en mass, there is potential here. Perhaps not in Australia, but in moments of crises across the globe, a system like this could get a reporter in front of a camera and on air in a matter of minutes, and of course networks like Sky News will be only too happy be "first". While we can all laugh and scoff at how big a blight the 'selfie' has become upon modern society, it's not hard to see why it's caught on. You can compose and take a decent photo in one swoop, there's no going back and forth to keep framing your shot, and the quality of these shots are actually pretty decent, especially as more and more mainstream smartphone manufacturers are paying attention to their front-facing cameras, like the Galaxy S6.