If Youre There When News Happens
Who can forget the deadly tsunami of December 2004, the London bombings of July 2005, the fury and aftermath of Hurricane Katrina on the U.S. Gulf Coast in August and September, 2005?In all those events, some of the most compelling images were taken by amateur photographers and videographers. The same can be said for some events this year, including the arrest outside a New York nightclub of Curtis Jackson, better known in the rap world as 50 Cent, and the crash of a small plane piloted by New York Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle into a Manhattan apartment building.Now Reuters and Yahoo are announcing a strategic alliance to solicit user-generated news photos and videos, publish them on Reuters.com and syndicate them to Reuters media outlets worldwide. Were starting this week with photos and will add videos later. Heres how it will work: If you see a news event, simply send the picture to You Witness, either by emailing it to firstname.lastname@example.org or visiting the You Witness site at www.reuters.com/youwitness. Reuters editors will review the pictures and select the most newsworthy images for publication on Reuters.com. The very highest quality pictures may be purchased by Reuters and distributed on our professional wire.Our worldwide professional staff and regular stringer photographers will remain at the center of our pictures service. Their talent and their special eye is crucial for a high-quality picture operation. But non-professionals bring their unique point of view and angle, enhancing and adding diversity to our content. In a sense, all the world are potential stringers.So as youre thinking about taking news photographs, think about what constitutes a good picture.Most importantly, it will be of interest to a wide audience. It may depict an event in the news: a train crash, a clash in the streets, deliriously happy fans the moment the big game is won.Or it may not be of a strictly ‘news’ event. It could be an out-of-the-ordinary moment in time in an otherwise ordinary day. Something that has novelty and impact. For example, a model falling over her huge heels on the catwalk, or a fox running up Downing Street, or a fire station catching fire, or a mouse hitching a lift on the back of a toad during a flood.It may be unique. A picture that no one else took has much more news value than one taken alongside a rank of other photographers.A good news picture will tell a story without words. It will have context by showing the surrounding scene, or show the emotion on the faces of the people in the picture.Whatever the content, a news picture can lose its value in a short space of time. News events move quickly, and the shot of a mini tornado you took last week may have been destined for the front page when you took it, but of no interest to a newspaper or a website a week later. There are exceptions if the event is of huge significance and rarity. For example, a photo of a tsunami wave could still be of great interest days after it struck.And please, when you are taking photos for submission to Reuters, do not break the law in any way, harass individuals, put yourselves or other people in danger or obstruct the work of emergency services.Were looking forward to seeing your picturesThomas Szlukovenyi, Global Pictures News Editor, and Dean Wright, Managing Editor and Senior Vice President, Consumer Services.