In a recent post, we explained why you don’t need a commissioning photo editor to become a photojournalist. You just need a good story idea and the time to produce a sequence of images that tell that story.
That’s always been true. There was never anything in the past that stopped a determined photographer from heading to the field, taking images and trying to sell them. Except the expense of course, and that hasn’t changed.
What has changed is the ease with which today’s citizen photojournalists can put those stories in front of the public. Blogs and personal websites can both act as publications for people interested in photographic stories, but if you’re prepared to put in a little effort and think big, the options don’t have to end there.
Knight Citizen News Network, for example, has a huge amount of information for citizen journalists, and even offers a free and well-researched ebook that explains the principles behind becoming a one-person news outlet. Some of the examples in the book (sites such as Baristanet.com and Westportnow.com) are now either turning a profit for their owners or are close to doing so. These sites are mostly focused on local news reporting and offer words instead of images but there’s no reason why you couldn’t reverse that order.
You could create an online news site that offered photo stories created by you and other photographers.
It wouldn’t be difficult. Once the site was up, there would be plenty of amateur or semi-professional photojournalists offering their images. As the editor, you would have to choose the best. As the publisher, you could earn revenue by selling advertising space, by taking a commission if a print outlet bought a story, or by producing books featuring select stories.
At the very least, you’d get the satisfaction of putting the stories you want told in front of the public.
Who’s ready to start?
A scrum of photographers by Sean Hawkey
[tags] phonajournalism, citizen photojournalism [/tags]