This is a post from Maria Purdy Young’s site about citizen journalism. She quotes Stanley Forman WCVB-TV who, as a still photographer, won three Pulitzer prizes and now realizes as a video journalist that if he is late to a scene he needs to find someone who was there – in the moment – with a camera phone.
“There’s a bit of an exploitative relationship between citizen journalists and news organizations. You have to know enough to ask before you can get paid.” — Steve Myers, Managing Editor, Poynter.org
“It certainly has swung too far in one direction. Whether it’ll ever swing back or not, I don’t know.” –Stanley Forman, Photojournalist
When an amateur photographer stumbled onto an accident scene in 1953 and snapped a photo of a man being rescued from the side of a bridge, she was considered a witness. She was awarded $10 for winning The Sacramento Bee’s photo competition that week, and later won a Pulitzer Prize for spot news photography. Today, Virginia Schau would be called a citizen journalist, and she would have thousands of eager, unpaid colleagues in the United States, perhaps millions around the world. She would be a source of frustration for professional photographers, and a source of revenue relief for news organizations. She would also be part of an evolving media business model that may soon reach its peak.
“I notice 15 cameras pointed at the cop-only ONE is a professional photographer,” said Al Tompkins, a senior faculty member at The Poynter Institute, in an email exchange.
“This speaks loudly to what is happening in our world,” he said. “As newsrooms downsize, more people who are not traditional journalists capture and document the world around us.”