Should citizen-journalists be paid?
Should citizen-journalists be paid? As sites like NowPublic and other spread their sea legs into the new world of web 2.0, questions begin to arise on paying writers and photographers for content or maintain a since of objectivity to report real news and not tabloid type articles that drive large amounts of traffic to sites just to receive a payout. Here is an article from the Daily Telegraph that asks some of the important questions being raised in Crowd Powered Media and other Citizen journalism sites. Canadian websites are especially stressed as net neutrality is under attack by broadband companies choosing winners and losers in Canadian markets. This may stifle growth to some companies as the provides make choices who gets the band width. This process could even take on a US Fairness doctrine type scheme by providing higher streams to less trafficked companies or to make choice based mearly on content.
Is paying our photographers and reporters against the spirit of citizen-journalism? It's something that we are occasionally challenged on, but we think is emphatically not the case.
Given the success of Wikis, Creative Commons and open-source, it is tempting to see the future of journalism in free-to-edit, unpaid websites. These sites, such as NowPublic, are popular but have been criticized for being opinion-driven and derivative. You can judge for yourself the standard of articles on such sites, but what is undeniable is that only a small minority of stories are based on first-hand new information. Original journalism is in short supply.
In recent years, virtually all major news organizations have incorporated some user-generated content into their publications, programmes and websites. CNN has i-Report, the BBC asks users to Have Your Say, and Reuters has teamed up with Yahoo to feed it citizen-produced content. However, these projects are dependent on photographers giving away their content for free, whether in charity or ignorance. Their business model is based on citizens’ willingness to surrender their copyright.