UK based citizen journalism agency Demotix has signed deals with some of the world’s biggest media outlets to supply images from the protests in Iran.
Demotix acts as a middleman between citizen journalists and the media, collating and marketing content and images submitted by citizen journalists. Demotix licenses that content to media outlets, splitting returns 50/50, with citizen journalists retaining copyright over any image submitted.
The idea of on-selling citizen journalist contributions isn’t a new one, and a couple of companies over the years have tried and failed in this space. Demotix though didn’t go down the traditional celebrity picture path a number of other sites have tried, and instead focused on world events and geographic spread, particularly in places that may offer limited access to Western media. The strategy has delivered in Iran, with Demotix offering pictures that can’t be matched by the mainstream media. Companies currently paying for content from Demotix include Reuters, AFP, EPA, The New York Times, The Telegraph, El Pais and a range of other newspapers.
It’s great to see Demotix succeeding here, and it’s a bonus that those on the ground in Iran will be able to gain some compensation for putting their lives on the line to take pictures. The bigger picture though could be one of serious humble pie for mainstream media, who is often extremely quick to belittle the value of citizen journalists (including bloggers and amateur photographers), but are now forced to go cap in hand for access to content from them.