It's no secret that various news organizations are working on ways to incorporate more people into the news gathering process -- whether you call it "citizen journalism" or "exploiting digital sharecroppers." Whatever you consider it, it appears the Associated Press is considering a new idea, recognizing that people with camera phones are quite often on various breaking news scenes well before they are. While plenty of other news organizations let people upload photos taken with camera phones and there are some services designed to broker those photos to news organizations, the AP is thinking of giving its own reporters and photographers release documents they can get anyone on the scene to sign, if they've taken a decent camera phone shot of a news event. That way, the AP can quickly get a good photo and spread it through their distribution network, even if it wasn't taken by an AP photographer. Of course, it's not clear what the terms of the release form are (which is probably because it's just an idea and hasn't been written yet), but it's still a step towards recognizing that it's not just the "official" press who explains the news any more.
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