Over the past few months, as the concept of "citizen journalism" has caught on -- especially when combined with cameraphones -- it's become quite common to see news organizations requesting people on the street take photos of news events in action and send them in. There's even a new service for cameraphone toting folks who want to sell images they've taken to news organizations. Obviously, there are many benefits to turning the whole world into instant photojournalists -- starting, of course, with the fact that you have a much better chance of having someone actually at the scene of a news event when it happens. However, it's worth remembering that these people aren't trained as photojournalists. While that may not be a problem from the content side, it has some worried that news organizations are encouraging people to put themselves in dangerous situations when they might otherwise be much safer going away. It's a serious issue. While, obviously, individuals should be smart enough to know when to protect their own safety, there is an open question of liability here. Should someone end up getting hurt or killed while pursuing a photo that they hoped to sell to a news organization that has asked for public photos of news events, it seems likely that a lawsuit might come out of it.
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