Five News, which celebrates its 10th birthday next week, will continue to put viewer input “at the very heart” of its operation, according to its editor.
The broadcaster launched Your News in November last year, becoming the first network TV news programme to guarantee payment of £100 and an onscreen credit to viewers for using their news footage.
Mark Calvert, editor of Five News said he was absolutely convinced this kind of user-generated content (UGC)
was here to stay. Five is looking at the next part of developing more audience input.
“We’re going to give it more prominence in our news output over the coming months because there are so many news stories out there and so many people with good stories which resonate with the rest of our audience. We feel we have tapped into a real rich vein of journalism, done by our viewers,” said Calvert.
Five News began life as an ITN production when the new terrestrial channel launched in 1997. It moved to Sky two years ago. Calvert said: “I think that from the very beginning Five News has had a reputation for innovation in the production of TV news – and that’s a tradition that still holds good.”
Your News has aired just under 100 of approximately 800 viewer videos sent in since its launch four months ago.
Calvert said at least “a couple of dozen”
of the videos aired had resulted in organisations changing their rules or backing down following the coverage.
“We feel we are giving valuable airtime to real issues for real people.”
Calvert said that more viewer news would not mean less airtime for Five’s journalists’ work.
He said: “At home or abroad, wherever stories are happening, we have a presence and that will continue to be the case.”
The centrepiece of the Five News birthday celebrations will be a grilling of Gordon Brown by a group of 10-yearolds.
There will be a series of programmes looking at the lives of a number of 10-year-olds including a chess prodigy, a boy with cerebral palsy, a West End star and a girl who is the sole carer for her ill mother.
On the future for the industry, Calvert said: “The explosion in new media technology means we are at arguably the most exciting time any of us will ever experience in TV news. It also means none of us knows what the future holds, but I don’t think any of us can afford to wait for the future to happen.”