Five News is to become the first network TV news programme to guarantee a payment and an on-screen credit to viewers for their news footage and stories.
From next Monday, the programme will pay so-called citizen journalists a minimum of £100 for stories and clips it uses. Viewers will be able to send clips in by logging on to the Five News website or by MMS on their mobile.
In addition to the minimum payment, contributors will also be entitled to an on-screen credit and to a share of the proceeds if Five sells the material on to other parties. The initiative, called "Your News", has also introduced on-screen email addresses for all reporters to encourage viewers to get directly in touch with their comments and views.
Five News plans to extend the initiative by creating a section in its programmes reserved for citizen journalism.
Five News editor, Mark Calvert, said: "The best stories are those which directly affect and feature our audience. This is our way of allowing them to share their stories, have direct editorial input into Five News, and be rewarded for it."
ITV's head of news revealed at this year's Edinburgh television conference that there was "potentially limitless" cash available for citizen journalists who could deliver "the money shot" on breaking news events.
Last year the channel reaped the rewards of user-generated content when it broadcast footage, shot by an amateur, of the arrest of two suspects in the 21 July London bombings. It is understood ITV paid a five-figure sum for the right to use the film.
ITV head of news Deborah Turness said: "From the outset, I was absolutely determined we would get that footage for our programme that day. Once I was sent a still frame of it via the computer of the person who filmed it, I was utterly convinced it was a major exclusive and it had to be ours."
ITV London News editor Stuart Thomas is also understood to have paid thousands for camera-phone footage of police officers raiding the Forest Gate house, which was broadcast by his programme even though it was "not the greatest quality".