Citizen PhotoJournalism?
August 12, 2005 6:56 PM   Subscribe

Could any of us really score a photo scoop? Scoopt is an on-line photo agency that purports to help us amateur photographers sell photos to news outlets. You join for free, but they take a 50% cut of the profit. Is it worth that to have an on-call agent? Just in case I happen across a major news event some day? On the other hand, I like being a part of the Creative Commons world of Flickr, where my "artsy" shots are available for further artistic use.
posted by mmahaffie (5 comments total)
There's far more citizens with cameras on the streets than professional photojournalists, and we will see more news when it happens. Timeliness is more valuable to news outlets than technical quality, and some pros are feeling the heat:

Now, a new revolution is about to be televised. Tiny lenses are popping in the most unlikely of devices, powerful editing is just a laptop away and personal websites are racing towards critical mass. How long before my oversized fancy-cam looks like an early 80’s bag phone? About the same time the six o clock news begins looking like it was shot by a hopped-up junkie with a twitchy digital, I‘m guessing. The next ten years promise to feature a rapid breakdown of my chosen craft.

Carry a digital camera of one kind or another (recognize its limitations), practice a few photography basics, and you may get a newsworthy shot. You might also consider what news is not, and be somewhat familiar with photographic ethics, legalities, and copyrights.

Half of something is better than all of nothing, so keep your eyes open.
posted by cenoxo at 10:43 PM on August 12, 2005

you can sell directly to papers, and the AP and other places--you don't need a middleman.
posted by amberglow at 10:49 PM on August 12, 2005

As a photographer and having some knowledge of photographic agencies, 50% is about the going rate for syndicating images. So yes, very worth it.

Yes, you can sell directly to papers, but having an agency can greatly improve your chances and save a lot of time and effort.
posted by Kiell at 1:27 AM on August 13, 2005

Kiell: but did you sign up? I wondering if you thought this was a good enough deal to bother with.
posted by Kickstart70 at 9:58 AM on August 13, 2005

Kickstart70: No, but I did consider it. I've never come close to a 'scoop' but I do wonder what I would do with an image if I did manage to snap an exclusive. My images are already syndicated by an agency so they probably have sufficient contacts to point me in the right direction. (And as they're a sports agency and good friends, they probably wouldn't be too concerned about their 50% and just pass on a few phone numbers.) For people with no experience of having photographs published, this is (in theory) an excellent idea. A scoop can become old news very quickly, so being able to deliver a shot to the press almost immediately can add huge value to that image.
posted by Kiell at 2:09 AM on August 14, 2005

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