08.11.2008 10:02 AM
House member captures Congressional hearings with mobile phone

When Congress adjourned for the summer recess, so did C-Span’s live broadcasts. That’s because the cameras that record the sessions of the Senate and the House of Representatives are controlled by the members of Congress.

Last week, when several dozen Republicans decided to stay on the House floor and discuss energy legislation after the House adjourned for a five-week summer recess, the cameras and microphones were turned off. So Rep. John Culberson, R-TX, acted as a citizen journalist and streamed live pictures to the Internet using the camera on his mobile phone.

An active user of Twitter, Culberson joined with Rep. Peter Hoekstra, R-MI, who both posted updates on the Twitter Web site.

“Pelosi just turned out the lights,” Culberson wrote on Twitter, referring to the decision by the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, to adjourn the House. Culberson used his Nokia 95 mobile phone to record fellow House members speaking about the event. Because House rules prohibit private cameras on the House floor, Culberson stepped into a hallway to do the recording.

The videos were shared live on the Internet through the streaming video service Qik. They were also archived for later viewing, and Culberson’s 12-minute video of a news conference received 22,000 views.

C-Span showed one of Culberson’s videos on the air. “The only way that we’re able to communicate with the public is through this live streaming video,” Culberson noted, acting as a cameraman, interviewer, orator, and broadcaster all at once.

To see Culberson’s video, go to http://qik.com/johnculberson/.

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