Graham Holliday helped me out of a bind earlier this week when he helped reanimate the Press Gazette mummy by writing the first new blog post for /discuss Journalism on extremely short notice.
Looking at the Reuters/Yahoo! user-generated content deal, Graham argues that the members of the former audience who contribute their photographs and material should be compensated at least as much as any other freelance contributor:
Yes, we social web users love to share. Yes, we’re going to create and publish this stuff regardless of old media, not because of it. But, no, we don’t want to see old media profit from ‘our stuff’.
For the past 10 years British freelance journalism pay rates have remained more or less static. Will You Witness News apply even these stagnated freelance rates to the work of the crowd who would produce photos and videos anyway regardless of payment?
As it stands the citizen journalists, networked journalists or, as I prefer to call them, people, will garner little more than a hearty slap on the back from their big pals in old media as they watch their creations wheeled out to the world, no doubt surrounded by advertising and cash-generating hyperlinks.
I’m a believer in Dan Gillmor’s mantra that the audience know more than I do – you’d have to be a buffoon, an egomaniac or both not to believe that – but the audience, at least in this naive freelance’s head, should be paid at least the same rate as the professional.
Graham has, of course, been involved with Scoopt, a company trying to ensure that non-journalists who supply material to commercial news outlets get a commercial rate of pay for their efforts.
Paul Bradshaw, meanwhile, sees the Yahoo/Reuters deal as another example of what he calls the “ghettoisation of citizen journalism“, a trend which, as Robin Hamman pointed out again last Friday, is most eloquently skewered by Jon Stewart of the Daily Show.