How old-school field reporting powers high-tech visual investigations


The breakthrough field of visual forensic investigations conjures a mental image of technical experts matching event timelines between video clips on their computer screens, far from the incident they’re probing.

But it turns out that the key to this technique — in which culprits are identified and events are reconstructed, moment by moment — is traditional, on-the-ground reporting, not the sophisticated forensic tools used later in the process.

That’s because field reporters without special tech skills are the team members who persuade witnesses to share their sensitive video clips; who help shopkeepers in war zones activate their CCTV units during electricity blackouts; who provide the emotional element to otherwise “cold” forensic stories by bearing witness to the harm.

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