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In a bid to turn the general public into amateur reporters, Yahoo! and Reuters have teamed up allow users to upload their photos and videos for use on their news sites.

From tomorrow, user-generated photos and videos will be displayed alongside news items on Yahoo! News and Reuters.com.

This is a high profile and praiseworthy attempt to foster ‘citizen journalism’, and follows similar initiatives by both the BBC and CNN.

The widespread use of camera phones has already provided news organisations with valuable footage of events such as the July 2005 London bombings.

Scott Moore of Yahoo! Media Group said the project may spread to text journalism in in the future:

"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."

“We want to expand the initiative to include text stories, but photos and video were the most obvious way to begin."

This is the latest in a series of moves by Reuters to source news content via the internet. In October, Reuters bought a stake in blog syndicator Pluck, with a view to syndicating blog stories to its media clients.

But Steve Rosenbaum, speaking to the New York Times, doubted that the public would submit their videos to the ‘You Witness’ system rather than more established video sites like YouTube.

He also suggested that quality control may be an issue:

“If you are asking your audience to know what is a national news story of interest to the world, it seems to me there are only two results: whether you get flooded with lots of car fires, or you get nothing. Neither is a particularly good effect.”

Reuters has said that it may pay users in the future for content which it syndicates to other media outlets – this may be a way to control quality.

Graham Charlton

Published 4 December, 2006 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

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