Italian daily la Repubblica has launched a new platform for users to submit videos. Reporter, as the project is called, is open to everyone, from citizen reporters to video-makers to semi-professional journalists, who can upload their content onto the website. Photos are accepted also but the platform is more focused on video.
Repubblica’s Reporter aims “to turn users into 'aerials' on the ground to contribute to live reporting on Italy”, the website explained.
In order to enlarge and develop its video content, Repubblica is turning to citizens and users with the eventual aim of creating a circle of video-makers who will be available to Repubblica: a network of potential freelancers with a sprinkle of citizen journalists.
The Editors Weblog spoke to Repubblica’s Riccardo Staglianò who explained that Reporter is an improvement of the already existing spontaneous wave of contributions to the paper from readers and non-professional journalists. Before, they could only send an email suggesting a subject or submitting a video, while now Reporter gives readers and video-makers a more organized and formalized structure to contribute to the paper.
Users can not only spontaneously upload videos and photos but also answer specific calls for material which are published on the website. At the moment, for example, readers are invited to submit their contributions regarding the campaign #salvaciclisti, videoraccontaci le bici della tua città (#savethebikers, video-report on bikes in your city).
Contributions can vary from traditional citizen journalism content such as citizens who record a video with their smart-phones of a newsworthy event they have witnessed, to a more structured reporting based on a real journalistic investigative storytelling.
Another element of the project is the Repubblica Academy, a six months training course in video-journalism. The twenty participants, who will attend the course for free, will be selected from among those who submit their contributions during the first month of the project. The Academy students at the end of the training will remain part of the Repubblica’s freelancer video-correspondents.
However, significant differences exist, starting with the fact that while CNN iReport and Metro Reporter have an interactive platform where user generated content is visible even before the editorial editing and fact-checking process of the news organization, Reporter is so far just a platform for users to upload their contributions. The videos are published just after an editorial validation process realized by the video desk at Repubblica, which edits the daily video production of the website.
Those who participate regularly will be classified in an internal rating of the most popular and frequent contributors.
Videomakers will be paid for the videos that are selected by the newsroom and published on the website. Amongst the early reactions to the launch there was a debate about a note appeared in the terms and conditions which mentioned the minimum pay for video of 5€: critics argued that Reporter might be a way to obtain journalistic contribution without compensating journalists appropriately. Staglianò and an update on the Repubblica page clarified that pay rates have not yet been decided.