In a bid
to save cash German mag Bild wants to expand online by recruiting a legion of citizen journalists to contribute images to its coverage.
Managing editor Michael Paustian admits that the newspaper cannot cover everything and that it is time to get the great unwashed to do the newspaper's work for it. It has signed a deal to provide digital cameras to people so they can shoot still photos and video.
The camera, which will cost 80 euro has 2 gigabytes of memory and comes with software and a USB port that allows "reader-reporters" to upload content directly to editors who will be assigned specifically to review the images for publication on Bild's Web site or in print.
A Bild spokesman, Tobias Fröhlich, said the goal was to encourage camera owners to seek the widest exposure for their work. Of course, they might pay for the submitted photos, but then again they might not. There might be a contest for the best content submitted each week.
Journalism watchdogs in Germany are worried that Bild's new media experiment will lower standards and interfere with professional reporting. Eva Werner, a spokeswoman for the German Journalists' Association, said she feared Bild's amateur photographers could undermine the work of their full-time counterparts by ambushing celebrities or interfering with police work at the scene of an accident.