As news organizations look to evolve their strategy, there seems to be a lot of interest in crowdsourcing the news. Maybe it's because it's a hot buzzword, and these companies are desperate to look cutting edge, or maybe it's just that the idea of having the crowd write the news, as opposed to paid journalists, appeals to the guys in accounting. It seems like the latter is likely, if only because the ideas that they've been coming up with don't seem particularly innovative. Take the latest project from Reuters and Yahoo to have users submit their cameraphone pictures of newsworthy events, whereupon they may be syndicated. How many times has this been tried before? As it is, a newspaper can already accept pictures that an individual takes, if they're the best shot of something newsworthy. The challenge is in convincing the people who have the best photos of newsworthy events to submit their pictures, as opposed to say just uploading them themselves to a site like Flickr. They're hoping that dangling the possibility of a payment, if the picture gets chosen for distribution, will offer enough of an incentive. It's doubtful that they'll be able to accomplish this, as it appears the company is just looking for publicity, evidenced by the fact that they're calling the program You Witness News, which sounds vaguely familiar.
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