Email this morning from Pat Younge, President of the Travel Channel.*
He sends me a link from The Guardian, that BILD, the German newspaper has partnered with a German supermarket to sell small cameras and field an army of citizen journalists to feed the paper’s website.
Sounds good to me, but I think they need a training course!
Germany’s bestselling newspaper is looking to expand without the expense of actually hiring new reporters.
Bild has joined up with discount supermarket chain Lidl to sell a basic digital camera to a legion of citizen journalists, who the tabloid hopes will contribute images to its coverage.
“We can’t cover everything,” said Michael Paustian, a Bild managing editor. “We think it is an advance for journalism.”
The pocket-sized camera has 2GB of memory, can shoot still pictures and video, and costs €69.99 (£60). It comes with software and a USB port that allows “reader-reporters” to upload content directly to editors who will be assigned to review it for publication.
Bild spokesman Tobias Fröhlich said the goal was to encourage camera owners to seek the widest exposure for their work. “It’s not about exclusivity,” he said.
The move fits in with a broader trend for traditional media to turn their increasingly interactive readers into news providers.
Vancouver-based NowPublic.com gathers photographs, video clips and news tips from the public and distributes them to news organisations. The trend is likely to continue as traditional news providers scramble to match the migration of readers and advertisers to the internet.
Bild, known for breaking major political stories as well as front-page splashes on zoo animals and celebrities, will use the new cameras to streamline an existing scheme that brings in thousands of photos each day by email and text message, Fröhlich said. The paper has published 9,000 of those images since 2006.
He said Bild may pay for the best ones it uses or establish a contest for the best content submitted each week; details would be worked out after gauging demand for the cameras that go on sale today.
Some worry that Bild’s new media experiment will lower standards and interfere with professional reporting.
“It poses a threat to quality journalism, the more images from non-professionals that are pushed on to the market even though professional images are available,” said Eva Werner, a spokeswoman for the German Journalists’ Association
But Paustian thought the opposite was true. “We’re not YouTube,” he said. “Every contribution will be viewed, reviewed and journalistically evaluated.”
*and this just in from NZ correspondent Alan Morrison