Cable TV company Current TV has hit the headlines today with the BBC News announcement that two of its reporters, Laura Ling and Euna Lee, have received pardons over spying charges from North Korea’s Kim Jong-Il and flown back to the US. Their return flight was in an unmarked plane used by high-profile rescuer Bill Clinton to fly in to Pyongyang and plead their case. Given that Al Gore, Clinton’s former VP, owns and runs Current TV it’s not hard to imagine how Clinton was brought into the negotiations and it seems to have paid off handsomely – with two reporters rescued and a new diplomatic front opening up as we speak. The Guardian reported the journalists’ homecoming in a video clip .
Current TV’s production model represents a new approach to media in the twenty-first century. A portion of its content (referred to as viewer-created content or VC2) is, as the name implies, created by viewers, loosely following the text-based model used by Wikipedia for its online content. Viewers are encouraged to send in mobile phone video grabs for broadcast. On the more traditional side, the company’s Vanguard group dispatches reporters to newsworthy sites around the world, such as the ill-fated trip taken by Ms’ Ling and Lee, to report on global issues for later broadcast in a weekly half hour program.