Citizen journalism has been on the rise in recent years with the proliferation of smartphones as well as easy access to the internet and other kinds of technology. So there's now an app that seeks to capitalise on this trend, by selling content from its contributors onto third parties such as news sites and bloggers by automatically sending recorded footage from a smartphone to media outlets.
Named 'Rawporter', the app works in two ways – if you're looking for specific content, you can search Rawporter's catalog and buy it, or if you can't find what you're looking for, you can create an assignment for 'rawporters' to go out and record footage for you.
The makers of this app are looking to capitalise on the modern day desire to earn money and become famous, as it proclaims numerous times on its site "get famous and get paidâ€. Initially it sounds like it could be useful as citizen journalism is seen generally as a positive development, as people can get closer to the story, and by using an app like this you can use a variety of different sources. But like many apps that try to be innovative and simplify currently existing processes, there are a number of problems.
Firstly the issue of bias and accountability, how would you know if the footage being filmed is genuine and not just staged by the 'Rawporter' in order to create a story? Secondly, what kinds of people are going to be 'Rawporters'? Certainly not anyone who aspires to be an actual reporter, as the app denigrates the job of an actual reporter - "Don't waste time being a reporter when all you have to do is record the event, type a few details and send it to us so you can get famous and get paid.â€
And in reality, how many big news events happen in your local area that would make you become the go-to source for footage? It seems unlikely that anyone could earn big bucks from being a 'Rawporter', especially as the company keep 40% of the sales price of the footage "to reinvest in technology improvementsâ€. It'll be interesting to see how this app performs on both the App store - and later the Android market - and if many media outlets will use the footage available on it.
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