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Saturday, January 28, 2006

Code of practice launched on 'citizen journalism'

A code of practice for media organisations embracing the phenomenon of 'citizen journalism' has been launched by the National Union of Journalists.
The Witness Contributors' Code of Practice outlines guidelines on issues such as accuracy and checking sources, along with payment to contributors.
It also covers copyright and other legal and moral rights and says that organisations should not do anything to encourage people to put themselves in danger in order to gain material.
A copy of the code of practice can be found here.
Its launch follows a debate on citizen journalism and its implications on the media industry, which asked whether the concept was a passing fad or something that would change journalism forever.
Chaired by NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear and hosted by the union and Media Guardian, the debate also questioned whether it was just a cheap way to fill newspapers and examined how organisations can get the best of citizen journalism.
Among those on the debate panel was Kyle McRae, founder of picture agency Scoopt, which sells photographs taken by the general public to newspapers.
He told the debate: "People do actually want to contribute to the news. They are now walking around with tools - camera phones and compact digital cameras - enabling them to take pictures and there is a desire to use this material.
"If there is an amateur rather than a professional on the scene first and they get a picture that tells the story, the media would want to use it, but there is a big hole between the public and the picture desk

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