A Times competition to find the camera phone photographer of the year has provoked readers to send in twice as many such photographs as the paper normally receives.
The paper usually receives about 35 mobile phone images a day from readers, but had 445 entries in the first week of the competition from 27 May.
Times picture editor Paul Sanders said that if a picture sent in by a reader had good news value the reader would be paid the same rate for the image as a photographer. Sanders said: “Since the 7/7 bombings, it has got steadily better.
We found that when the Buncefield thing happened we were taking calls from people saying: ‘Do you want to see my pictures of it?’ “What you’re doing by having a competition like this is encouraging the readers to interact with the paper.
“You’re expanding another news source. Years ago you would turn up at a scene of a major event and the first
thing you would do would be to ask eyewitnesses for the film out of their camera, whereas now you don’t need to, because they transmit it to you. Added
to that you get their phone number and their name when it comes in and you can call them back and get the quotes from them as well.”