NUJ plans code for 'citizen journalists'

The NUJ is proposing a new Code of Practice to cover “citizen journalists”

and, perhaps surprisingly, union members are not all against these amateur competitors.

Mike
Holderness, from the London Freelance Branch of the NUJ, said many
union activists would rather call them “citizen witnesses”.

He
added: “The whole point, after all, is that we’re increasingly dealing
with reports and pictures from people who are not journalists.

“That
diversity of input, as all the journalists I’ve asked can agree, is no
bad thing – so long as the interests of journalism, of journalists and
perhaps particularly of the witnesses themselves are protected.

“And that’s the point of developing a code.

“London
Freelance Branch has invited representatives of the BBC, of Scoopt –
the agency that sets out to secure fair financial deals for citizens’

photos – and of course experienced journalists involved in the debate”.

He added: “Important events are inconsiderate enough to happen when no professionals are present.

“Technology
means that there are hundreds of thousands of people who can send in
their images and texts from events that would otherwise be covered at
second and third hand. In any case, different views on the news are
often welcome.”

The NUJ London Freelance Branch debate on citizen
journalism is being held on Monday, from 7pm, at the Friends’ House on
Euston Road in London.

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