Citizen Journalists – Everyone has a Smart Phone

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.”

You can read more about it here.

About the author

RANDY OLSON’s 27 National Geographic magazine projects have taken him to many countries in Africa, the Siberian Arctic, Abu Dhabi, American Samoa, Austria, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Dubai, Guyana, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Italy, Japan, Kamchatka, Newfoundland, Pakistan, Palmyra, Republic of Georgia, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, and the South Pacific.
National Geographic Society published a book of his work in their Masters of Photography series in January 2011. Olson was the 2003 Magazine Photographer of the Year in the Pictures of the Year International (POYi) competition, and was also awarded POYi’s 1992 Newspaper Photographer of the Year—one of only two photographers to win in both media in the largest photojournalism contest operating continuously since World War II. While working at The Pittsburgh Press, Olson received an Alicia Patterson Fellowship to support a seven-year project documenting a family with AIDS, and a Robert F. Kennedy Award for his story on problems with Section 8 housing. He was also awarded the Nikon Sabbatical and a grant from the National Archives to save the Pictures of the Year collection.
Melissa Farlow and Randy Olson are photojournalists in the documentary tradition. Their work has taken them to 50 countries over the past 20 years. Even though they are published in LIFE, GEO, Smithsonian and other magazines, they have primarily worked on 50 projects for the National Geographic Society. They normally work individually, but have co-produced National Geographic magazine stories on northern California, American national parks, and the Alps. They photographed the southern United States for a book by Collins Publishing and have collaborated on over 70 books by various publishers.