German newspaper sells cheap digital cameras to create 'citizen journalists'

 4th Dec 2008

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.