From today sending a picture to Yahoo News could lead to world wide distribution to mainstream media by Reuters. Stills and video can be submitted to You Witness pages at both Yahoo and the news agency.
Material will be uploaded to Flickr from where Yahoo will select material to be used in its news service and by Reuters for commercial syndication. According to the Reuters news story, ways of paying contributors are still being worked out.
“We are looking at the possibility of creating photo wires and archives to allow people to be compensated for their work and for the images they are able to capture,” said Chris Ahearn, president of Reuters Media.
While the Yahoo submission page provides tips for “citizen journalists” it does not look as if the phrase is part of the agreement. The term is avoided in the Reuters report, with an intro talking about turning “spectators into on-the-spot journalists”.
Scott Moore, head of news and information at Yahoo, says: “”There is already a lot of quality amateur journalism being created by our users. Yahoo needed a more efficient process for soliciting and publishing user- contributed photos and video.”
Ahearn says: “We have been seeking to increase the number and range of voices that can be active in our service,”This is another step in that direction.”
While Reuters points out that contributed pictures from the public have long been used, You Witness is clearly a big development. They two organisations are looking at ways to extend the project to text.
Whatever the contributors are called this is clearly an important step in the development of wider participation in the media.