The microblogging service Twitter has gained importance as an exchange platform for news photos that, in collaboration with renowned media, trigger immediate reactions from photo editors. Uploaded eyewitness material from terrorist attacks such as in Brussels (2016), Nice (2016), Munich (2016) and nature disasters such as the fires in Australia (2020) are the starting point of my investigation: Twitter conversations show that photo editors from all over the world turn to (amateur) photographers – hence citizen photojournalists – to request permission to use the images in journalistic publications. Some even sent a special “social media release form” in which they declare they recognise the copyright holder, but will not pay for the use of the images – although they want to reserve the full rights to further distribution over time, space and medium of the respective images.
The common criterion is that these are unforeseeable events such as attacks, natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods or tsunamis (Bruns & Burgess, 2014; Bruns & Hanusch, 2017). These cannot be foreseen by photojournalists: As a rule, professional photographers depict the aftereffects of the respective events. I address the status of the newsworthy digital image as an actor in changing global cultural practices and global news market dynamics. My talk fits into the Visual Culture section since it addresses participatory, ethical, and technological intersections of professional photojournalism and citizen photojournalism.
Objectives and returns
Topics according to CfP
inclusiveness of different voices in the media, relations between photo editors and citizen photojournalists, impact of the (image) sharing economy on journalistic practices, communication and trust of citizens in the media while being asked to contribute for free to global news, ethics in digital visual culture