WTSP-Ch. 10 seeking 20 citizen journalists to help gather news
Local TV stations often encourage viewers to provide footage of news they can't get to -- like weather emergencies, fires and things which may happen too quickly for the station to get professionals to capture.
But St. Petersburg CBS affiliate WTSP is taking that concept a step further, soliciting viewers and users of its Web site to apply for one of 20 slots in a new citizen journalism program they are unveiling, training a group of non-journalists to use handheld cameras to capture compelling images they may stumble across on their own.
There's not much money in the proposition -- $20 for every clip used and the right to keep the video camera after a year. But the offer hints an an intriguing effort to take WTSP's cameras deeper into the community it's trying to cover. In my conversations with two different general managers taking over rival stations recent weeks, the mantra of community involvement was just about the first phrase which escaped their lips.
It will be interesting to see if this citizen journalism project winds up becoming a low-cost way to achieve that laudable goal.
Here's the announcement they've made to potential participants:
"Tampa Bay's 10 is looking for twenty people around the Bay area to help us with a special project. We will teach twenty lucky people how to shoot a video camera, and how to get the video to us here at the station.
Here is how it will work:
For one year, these twenty people will agree to send us video stories which we will air on our newscast or post on our web site.
Every three months, shooters will be required to send me ten stories, or clips which I can put on the air.
These clips can be about many different subjects. Things that happen in your community. Anything from bad weather to your childs play at school. Maybe your neighborhood meeting.
Each time you send me a video story that either makes it on the news or on our web site, Tampa Bay's 10 will pay you TWENTY DOLLARS!
If you hold up your end of the deal, after a year, you will KEEP the video camera we assign you.
Tampa Bay's 10 will issue you a video camera, a tripod, a bag for the camera, a battery, all of the necessary equipment to download video into your computer and a bag to store it.
My name is Mitchell Wallace and I will work with this citizen journalist team to get these stories in our newscasts and online.
If you'd like to learn more or be considered, send me an e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Right now - there is no form to fill out. But in your email make sure you include:
- Your Name
- Where you live
- What kind of videos you currently shoot (Children's programs, church events, etc.)
- How we can contact you (phone, e-mail)"