Monday, December 19, 2005
Digital era spawns public paparazzo
DECEMBER 13, 2005
A ERA of citizen journalism is dawning in Britain as media organisations turn to their readers, viewers and listeners for photographs.
The amateur photographer already has an agency, Scoopt, to distribute reports and images, while the budding writer can replace professionals in The Guardian's Saturday travel section.
As soon as there is a big unexpected event, a script runs at the bottom of the screens on the BBC or Sky News inviting the public to email digital photographs.
The July 7 terrorist bombings on three London subway trains and a bus were a watershed in the news business. Most of the on-spot bombing images carried on television and in newspapers were from amateurs.
Any eyewitness with a phonecam or a digital camera has the technical means to become a journalist for a day. "People like to contribute to the news and they get a kick out of it," says Kyle MacRae, the founder of Scoopt.
Started in Glasgow in July, the agency claims 4300 members -- some of them not very active - in 80 countries without the benefit of advertising.
Scoopt uses photos of events such as car accidents for immediate local interest, storms for regional interest and serious crimes, such as the recent shooting of a policewoman, for national viewers.
It also accepts photos of celebrities, which has created a citizen paparazzo on every street corner.
Scoopt is building an electronic archive of photographs that can only be used by media subscribers.
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