Citizen journalism

I signed up with Scoopt the other day. It’s capitalising on the trend towards the media searching for eyewitness photos and videos, something only possible now that camera phones are so ubquitous. The way it works is that you take a good newsworthy shot and they, supposedly with their expertise and knowledge of the industry, flog it for the highest price they can get, whether that’s to a local rag, or something that makes the front page of a tabloid. In return, they keep 50% of the fee, which may seem a lot, but I would hope that they would be able to get at least double what I would get if I tried to negotiate directly. And far better than blindly sending pictures to the BBC, whose approach and Terms & Conditions send shivers down my spine.

I have mixed thoughts about citizen journalism, as all this has been dubbed. On the one hand, will it make me walk around almost hoping that I’ll bump into a celeb in a compromising position, or witness some horrible event? Or will I be the only person to get a shot of a unique event that has genuine newsworthyness yet doesn’t invade anyone’s privacy? After all, we all want to see our pictures on the front page, but that has to be moderated by a sense of reason and compassion.

On which note, there was a fascinating piece in the Guardian last Thursday where they reported how The Sun had used an image of a guy hurt in the 7 July explosions, with the headline “Tell Tony he’s right”. Only thing was, not only did the chap photographed not think Tony was right, but he’s a professor of media studies. The camera may never lie, but the editors certainly do…..

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