Jul 9, 2008

'Citizen' labor

A CBS affiliate in St. Petersberg, Florida plans to recruit 20 "lucky" people to become "citizen" journalists for the station. Each person will receive basic training on using a video camera and then will be expected to shoot a minimum of 10 clips suitable for broadcast every three months. They'll get $20 for every clip that's used on the station's newscast or Web site - and nothing for the others. At the end of the year, if they fulfill their mission, they get to keep the camera.

Take the word "citizen" out of the descriptor and what you have are 20 poorly training journalists working part time for slave wages.

Put the word "citizen" back in and you're on the cutting edge of the super democratized journalism 2.0.

Either way, the station gets video for almost nothing.

Gee, I wonder how many other ways we can use the word "citizen" to get people to work for almost free?

But first, here's the release (via Romenesko):
Tampa Bay's 10 is looking for twenty people around the Bay area to help us with a special project. We will teach twenty lucky people how to shoot a video camera, and how to get the video to us here at the station. Here is how it will work:

For one year, these twenty people will agree to send us video stories which we will air on our newscast or post on our web site.

Every three months, shooters will be required to send me ten stories, or clips which I can put on the air.

These clips can be about many different subjects. Things that happen in your community. Anything from bad weather to your childs play at school. Maybe your neighborhood meeting.

Each time you send me a video story that either makes it on the news or on our web site, Tampa Bay's 10 will pay you TWENTY DOLLARS!

If you hold up your end of the deal, after a year, you will KEEP the video camera we assign you.

Tampa Bay's 10 will issue you a video camera, a tripod, a bag for the camera, a battery, all of the necessary equipment to download video into your computer and a bag to store it.

My name is Mitchell Wallace and I will work with this citizen journalist team to get these stories in our newscasts and online.

Maybe I'll hire a few "citizen" painters to redo my living room. I won't plan to pay them, thought. I'll just let them know that I'm offering them a chance get involved in an important communitiy project. And if they do a good job, I'll let them keep the paint brushes.


Shintzer said...

I suppose we should be heartened that our occupation is so "fun" that people will do it for free.

After all, that's why we put up with all the crap we do -- because it's more interesting and rewarding than most other things. It's a vicious cycle, though. Because they can get workers for little money, they pay little money.

Anonymous said...

I mourn the demise of our once-noble profession...

Anonymous said...

I mourn the demise of our once-noble country ...