WABC-TV in New York City and WTKR-TV in Norfolk, VA, have launched programs to enlist viewers in their newsgathering efforts by encouraging them to submit still photos and video clips.
WABC makes its appeal playing on the prestige of joining the Eyewitness News Team. WTKR entices viewers with the chance to win monthly prizes.
The solicitation for content is one of the latest examples of what some call “old media” — learning to live with and benefit from new citizen journalism. Most notably this has taken shape in blogs on the Internet.
WABC requires viewers to agree to a formal licensing agreement for submitted pictures and video. WTKR’s program is less formal.
The Norfolk-based station will accept avi, MPEG-1 and WMV files, while WABC wants .JPG and .GIF stills and MPEG, AVI or 3GP video clips that are no larger than 2MB.
Stills and video clips taken with cell phones increasingly are finding their way into television news programs. Some notable examples are ABC News Now’s use of video cell phone toting participants in President George W. Bush’s inaugural parade last January and broad distribution of images from the subterranean blast sites in London two weeks ago.