Yahoo, Reuters Team on User-Contributed Image Service

Yahoo, the Web heavy, and news service Reuters are joining forces to create a user-contributed image service dubbed “You Witness,” and they’re asking members of the public to submit their own homemade photos or videos of news happenings for use on their sites, Reuters reports.

Web surfers can become instant journalists beginning Tuesday by submitting photos or video via a You Witness link on the Yahoo News homepage, as well as a related Reuters page, according to Reuters. Pictures can also be sent via e-mail to pics@reuters.com. After contributions are collected, Reuters will edit and select relevant content to be distributed to additional news sources, Reuters reports.

Yahoo News already offers content from a variety of media outlets including Reuters and the Associated Press, and groupings of selected user-contributed photos or images will eventually be presented on the site’s homepage, according to Reuters.

The two firms are attempting to benefit from the current mass popularity of cell phones and other handhelds with digital cameras and camcorders, which enable regular joes to become “on-the-spot journalists.” The London Underground bombings last July and last year’s Hurricane Katrina that devastated the U.S. gulf coast provided ideal situations for citizens to step up and document the events as they unfolded. Since then, more and more media firms have opened up to contribution from the general public, but the trend has been hindered by concerns regarding content quality, compensation and the potential for elaborate hoaxes, among other reasons.

Scott Moore, who heads up news and information at Yahoo Media Group, said, “There is already a lot of quality amateur journalism being created by our users. Yahoo needed a more efficient process for soliciting and publishing user-contributed photos and video,” according to Reuters.

Yahoo will initially accept contributions of only news-related photos and video; however, it plans in the future to accept user-contributed sports and entertainment content also, Reuters reports.

Both firms are working on a system for paying users for contributions that are chosen and employed on their sites, according to Reuters.

CNN.com, a separate news Web locale, accepts “I-Reports” contributed by its users, but it does not pay them for their material, Reuters reports.

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