Citizen News Photographs: No Longer Free
October 4th, 2005

A new citizen-journalism photo marketplace debuted yesterday. Spy Media of California follows Scoopt of the U.K. into the business of trying to make money by selling citizen news photos to professional publishers. Steve Outing report on E-Media Tidbits.

Scoopt’s model is to sell to (mostly U.K.) news publishers by direct personal contact with editors. Spy Media takes a completely different approach, establishing a Web photo marketplace featuring submissions from citizen as well as professional photographers. Publishers use the service to find news photos and buy licensing rights, which are set (along with price) by the photographer. It’s a much more automated model.

What’s significant is the trend we’re seeing toward citizen journalists getting paid. If you’re an eyewitness to an important news event (natural disaster, assassination, etc.), chances are that in the future if you come up with a strong photograph of it, you can make money from your image. Today we still see major news organizations requesting that witnesses to news events submit their photos for publication or videos for broadcast — for no compensation. I think those days are numbered.

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