Citizen journalists may be paid

The BBC is apparently following other broadcasters in agreeing to pay for user-generated news content.  An interesting move – and surely contributors should be recognised – but I remember watching the unfolding of the Buncefield Oil Depot explosions last year when a father proudly announced he was at the site with his son who was getting footage for his media studies course.  This can only make the job of those handling public relations in crisis situations more challenging if everyone is seeking a quick buck for disaster images or experiences.  Or maybe the PRs themselves could ask for payment when their stories and images are used by the media…

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Heather Yaxley

Heather Yaxley is passionate about PR - teaching the CIPR qualifications, lecturing part-time at Bournemouth University and running the Motor Industry Public Affairs Association (MIPAA). I'm undertaking a PhD looking at Career Strategies in PR. I love sharing ideas and knowledge - connecting news and views by blogging on public relations and educational developments, especially relating to accelerated and active learning. I'm also a published author, qualified trainer and experienced consultant.

2 thoughts on “Citizen journalists may be paid”

  1. That student was in the right place at the right time. I find citizen journalism quite exciting, I would like to see every city have its own community focused citizen online journal, perhaps run the local newspaper, it could be a wonderful community enterprise and really useful during times of crisis, ie if we had an outbreak of avian flu and all the schools closed, local facilities drew to a standfill. It could be the main source of local info about where to buy food and petrol, etc.

  2. I agree that the concept of citizen journalism is exciting, particularly in opening up access to communications beyond the control of the big media players and organisations/government to individuals. People power is a great thing (eg the OJ climbdown from Fox today).

    Certainly a lot of useful information and insight is found in the wider community. However, my concern was that in situations like Buncefield or terrorist situations where there is a real threat to health and safety, over-eager meja-studies students trying to make a name for themselves may make the challenge of handling the crisis more dangerous.

    Also, citizen journalism can have problems regarding vested interests of those “reporting”, the accuracy and reliability of information they may be able to provide (ie do they check sources or rely on rumour) and so on. Like any new movement it has its benefits and drawbacks, but I also welcome the possibilities.

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