Yahoo, Reuters launch eyewitness photo site

Camera and video phone users around the world are being invited to contribute as photojournalists to a new online project for Yahoo and Reuters.

Camera and video phone users around the world are being invited to contribute as photojournaliststo a new online project for Yahoo and Reuters.

Starting on Tuesday, the internet search engine and global news agency are launching You Witness News, a venue for citizen journalism where people can upload photos and videos for possible publication.

"There is an ongoing demand for interesting and iconic images," Chris Ahearn, president of the Reuters media group, told the New York Times.

"This is looking out and saying, 'What if everybody in the world were my stringers?' " he said.

News organizations have often turned to amateur video and photos during coverage of major events like the London bombings, the Asian tsunami and the Sept. 11 attack in New York.

Yahoo and Reuters are not the first news organizations to launch a site for citizen journalists. U.S. cable news giant CNN and the BBC alreadyfacilitate theuploading ofphotos, graphics, audio or video from the public.

CBC executives also announced on Thursday plans to turn the Vancouver news bureauinto apioneer of "civic journalism," in which citizens can upload video or images of news events to the CBC. The CBC has yet to determine how it will vet and use images and information from its viewers and listeners.

Ordinary citizens with camera phones have recently broken news in the celebrity world. Actor Michael Richards, who played the character Kramer on Seinfeld, was recorded on a video phone last month making racist remarks during a comedy club performance.

Yahoo will host the dedicated page for photos and videos from the public. Prior to the launch it shows a photo of a woman with a camcorder filming an incoming storm with the caption,"You may begin uploading Dec. 5."

Users won't be paid for images and video displayed on the Reuters and Yahoo sites. But people whose photos or videos are selected for distribution to Reuters clients will receive payment, Ahearn told the Times.

The Yahoo-Reuters announcement is the latest corporate move to tap into the widespread popularity of online video. It comes two months after Yahoo's rival internet search engine Google bought the videosharing site YouTube for $1.65 billion US.