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Citizen journalists supply front page scoops with stills and video for news websites

Citizen journalism proved key to The Press in York bringing readers news and pictures of a drama unfolding at York Minster.

One reader photo was so good it made the front page splash.

Readers responded in droves when an elderly tourist collapsed after climbing the narrow, spiral staircase to the top of the central tower.

The only way for emergency crews to get him out of there was to winch him out by helicopter.

As soon as the incident began, the newsdesk had more than 20 calls from the public and most journalists received at least one call from their own contacts.

Five readers brought their digital pictures to the office while many sent in phone pictures like the one above.

Another reader brought in a video of the drama which went on the paper’s website within minutes.

Editor Kevin Booth said: “We like to think we are close to our readers. This confirmed it many times over. Their first thought was for their local paper.”

The Express & Echo in Exeter is also using more and more user-generated content in its stories online and in print – including the front page.

In the last couple of months, the Echo has used dramatic photos of storms, accidents and fires.

The aftermath of a road accident in Exeter’s Prince Charles Road, showing emergency services on the scene, was recently captured by a reader.

The Echo also published scenes from around the region as readers pictured the power of storms, with 70mph gusts uprooting trees and waves crashing against the shoreline.

Earlier this month, a dramatic picture of a 4ft snake which had been set on fire by yobs in a city play area was published.

Another reader sent in a picture showing a residential area transformed into a rubbish dump when tonnes of junk were put out the night before a bulky waste collection.


Jamie Willis (01/05/2008 08:49:21)
Did any of the “citizen jurnos” get any money for the scoops? Let me guess…

Phil Beckett (01/05/2008 18:22:00)
In my opinion citizen journalism is just a cheap way some newspapers get free pics and stories. I have had numerous pics used by lots of newspapers in the West Midlands, including front pages and I know if I had asked for money they would never see the light of day.

Chris (01/05/2008 20:36:18)
If there are any of you citizen journalists outthere read and send your pics and scoops to the editor. That website will pay £100 for the best pictures and stories