German newspaper Bild has teamed up with discount supermarket chain Lidl to sell basic digital cameras to the public. The newspaper is hoping to create a legion of "citizen journalists" who will contribute images.
Michael Paustian, a Bild managing editor, said: "We can't cover everything. We think it is an advance for journalism."
The small digital camera has 2GB of memory, and comes with software and a USB port that enables "reader reporters" to send images directly to the editorial team. The camera can capture video clips as well as still images, and costs €69.99.
The German company's move to supply cheap digital cameras to a "reporting" public has proved controversial. Eva Werner, a spokesperson for the German Journalists' Association said: "It poses a threat to quality journalism, the more images from non-professionals that are pushed on to the market even though professional images are available."
However, Paustian responded by saying: "We're not YouTube. Every contribution will be viewed, reviewed and journalistically evaluated."
The Bild-Lidl deal is part of a growing trend to turn media consumers into interactive news contributors. In Canada, the website NowPublic.com acts as a portal for the general public to upload photographs, video clips and news clips. The content is then distributed to news organisations.