Work - More Citizen Journalism stuff

Caught an interesting doc looking at the whole citizen journalism thang buried in the deep dark depths of the BBC News 24 schedule called Have You Got News For Us.

The Boxing Day Tsunami probably started it all, with all the major footage taken by amateur cameramen. By the time we get to the London Bombings, the BBC was getting 300 pictures and 3000 SMS messages. And, of course, December's Hemel Hempstead oil fire saw over 6500 contributions pour in.

So, now you have agencies like Scoopt which firmly emphasises the ability to make money out newsworthy and celeb pics, charges a whopping 50% and demands three months' exclusivity on everything sent to it. At the other end of the scale, the technology is allowing the likes of Felixstowe TV to set up broadband-based pico-stations, and these semi-pro outfits are often first on the scene of a breaking story.

Issues? Oh yes. Rights and copyright, privacy, danger, ethics...the lot. Broadcasters are going to have to wrestle with all this in '06, not to mention have enough staff deployed to handle the deluge when anything noteworthy occurs in front of the mobile-wielding masses. Plus, of course, the term 'Citizen Journalism' itself could probably do with an overhaul, unless of course the news orgs of the planet really want the rest of us to start interviewing people for reactions and intoning sonorously about 'scenes of terrible devastation' or 'close-knit communities in shock'.

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