At Front Lines, Bearing Witness in Real Time - NYTimes.com: Bearing witness is the oldest and perhaps most valuable tool in the journalist’s arsenal, but it becomes something different delivered in the crucible of real time, without pause for reflection. It is unedited, distributed rapidly and globally, and immediately responded to by the people formerly known as the audience.
It has made for a more visceral, more emotional approach to reporting. War correspondents arriving in a hot zone now provide an on-the-spot moral and physical inventory that seems different from times past.
That emotional content, so noticeable when Anderson Cooper was reporting from the Gulf Coast during Hurricane Katrina in 2005, has now become routine, part of the real-time picture all over the web.
The absence of the conventional layers of journalism — correspondents filing reports that are then edited for taste and accuracy — has put several journalists under scrutiny, mostly for responding in the moment to what they saw in front of them.