“Limitless” cash available for citizen footage

ITV's head of news has revealed there is "potentially limitless" cash available for citizen journalists able to deliver "the money shot" on breaking news events.

The channel last year reaped the rewards of user-generated content when it broadcast footage shot by an amateur who captured the arrests of two suspects in the 21 July London bombings.

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."

The BBC's world news editor, Jon Williams, said user-generated content had to be spectacular, adding: "It has to be iconic, it has to be something that makes you sit up and take notice. If it's not, we won't take notice of it."

ITV London News editor Stuart Thomas admitted the phonecam footage of officers entering the Forest Gate house that was broadcast by his programme was "not the greatest quality", but said that actually seeing something happening on screen was better than just describing it.

Thomas said that within hours of the arrests taking place, his reporters and producers were on the ground leafleting the area asking people for footage of the incident.

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