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Citizen journalism: Street Photographer of the Year announced

Kheoh Yee Wai, winner of the CJET Street Photographer of the Year, poses with his photo

The winner of the Citizen Journalism Education Trust (CJET)’s Street Photographer of the Year was announced yesterday.

In a release, Kheoh Yee Wai, 23, (pictured above) described his winning photograph:

The mum and her child were strolling on the streets of a neighbourhood in Leeds, passing by a family that was having a barbecue at that time. They had a huge dog that kept jumping-up in excitement.

That was when I knew I had to stop and capture a candid street photograph.

To qualify for the prize, entries had to be taken on a mobile phone by an amateur photographer or citizen journalist.

Judges included award-winning photographer and former Guardian picture editor, Eamonn McCabe and Allyce Hibbert picture editor for Time Out.

Wei, was awarded a camcorder. Runners-up Pete Smith and Daniel Holland received framed prints of their photographs.

All 12 shortlisted photographs are being exhibited at the London College of Communication until Thursday, 15 March. More information is available on the LCC news and events blog.

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#ijf11: Playing at engagement and verification with Citizenside

Journalists, a lot of journalists in this room probably, recoil at the G word. “Oh you want to turn my really serious story into a game…

This was Citizenside editor-in-chief Philip Trippenbach speaking in an #ijf11 session earlier today called Beyond the Article.

Trippenbach has been trumpeting the benefits of gaming for journalism for some time now. He made a convincing case for gaming at a recent Journalism.co.uk news:rewired event called, coincidentally enough, Beyond the Story.

Trippenbach has worked on interactive projects for the BBC and a host of other outlets. But clearly the “G word” is still a long way from taking root with most journalists.

He made a convincing case again today. This time – having joined citizen press agency Citizenside in January – for the power of gaming for citizen journalism initiatives.

The most powerful interactive form is gaming, in terms of interactive journalism, that is where the win is. When you talk about gaming baked right into the heart of a package, that is very profound.

With the addition of Trippenbach to its staff, Citizenside is certainly baking gaming right into the heart of its operation, and he outlined how it is using the form for two key purposes.

Citizenside users are encouraged to progress from level to level by accomplishing certain tasks, or “missions”, just like you did when you played computer games as a kid (or maybe as an adult too – according to Trippenbach more people in Western Europe and North America play computer games than don’t, although I forgot to ask where he got the data for that one).

And just like those computer games, the missions at Citizenside get harder as you go along, with the early stages requiring you to capture a relatively easy-to-obtain image, and the latter requiring, say, a good image of a state leader or an important newsworthy event.

Perhaps the most interesting thing Trippenbach talked about was how the agency uses that points-based gaming system not just for engaging users, but to help  with assessment and verification of user-generated content, always a thorny issue for citizen press agencies.

If we get a picture from a level 35 user, well, it takes a long time to get to level 35 or 45, and the Citizenside editorial team know that that user has demonstrated commitment to our values.

So not only does the gaming element of the operation help engage users by breaking down their involvement into a series of incremental tasks and levels, it also is a huge advantage to Citizenside for an indication of the reliability of the content it is receiving.

If its someone who has submitted five packages and five of them have been refused, well, we know what that is, but if it’s someone with a 100 per cent record, well, fine.

We have a trust system that allows some users to post directly to the homepage and be post moderated.

As well as information about the user, Citizenside uses software to access data about the package itself.

This technical side of the verification process can potentially allows the agency to see whether an image has been edited in PhotoShop or uploaded to Flickr, and reveal when and where it was taken and uploaded.

I want to return to the issue of gaming and engagement quickly before I finish. However many journalists Trippenbach has seen turn their noses up at gaming, I have seen examples at this festival of gaming creeping in to some of the best and most popular mainstream journalism taking place.

Citizenside’s example of breaking the user engagement down into small, incremental stages has echoes in the Guardian’s MPs expenses app, which aimed to crowdsource the examination of the 458,000 documents published.

The app had two million hits in the first two days but, as the Guardian’s Martin Belam explained recently, users were unenthusiastic because the process hadn’t been broken down into achievable-seeming stages.

When a second batch of documents were released, the team working on the app broke them down into much smaller assignments. That meant it was easier for a small contribution to push the totals along, and we didn’t get bogged down with the inertia of visibly seeing that there was a lot of documents still to process.

So gaming doesn’t necessarily mean the fully-fledged computer games we play on a PlayStation, it can be the simple interactive engagement of the Guardian app, or the New York Times’ Budget Puzzle interactive in which you attempt to solve the deficit.

As Trippenbach acknowledged after the session, gaming is not yet taken seriously as a medium. But at Citizenside it may be the solution to the two key problems facing any citizen agency, engagement and verification, and for that reason you can bet that they take it very seriously.

See more from #ijf11 on the Journalism.co.uk Editor’s Blog.

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Editors Weblog: Is photojournalism an objective practice?

February 16th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Photography

Looking at New York Times photographer Damon Winter’s photo series, A Grunt’s Life – which won the third place award in the Pictures of the Year International features contest – Paul Hoffman asks whether the style of the photography compromises the objectivity of the images as war documentary.

Does the old school, discolored, oversaturated, plastic toy camera feel of the photographs, which was created through the Hipstamatic app on Winter’s iPhone, detract from their validity?

Several critics argue “yes”. According to their perspective, the overtly artistic nature of this series pushes the photographs out of the objective realm of “photojournalism” and into the subjective realm of “photography”…

Full post on Editors Weblog at this link.

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10,000 words: Deadline for international photography competition approaching

January 7th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Awards, Events, Multimedia, Photography

Photojournalism competition Pictures of the Year international closes next Friday, 14th January, reports 10,000 words.

The competition is open to professional and student photographers who can submit entries in over 40 categories, including subcategories for last year’s major news events.

The competition winners will be announced after two weeks’ of live and public judging at the Missouri journalism school’s campus next month.

For more details on the competition and how to enter, see 10,000 words

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Redlights and Redeyes: ‘It’s tough to watch photographers get drained through a funnel’

November 17th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Photography

A candid open letter from award-winning US photojournalist Chip Litherland to newspaper photographers everywhere: “It is now on you.”

Dear Newspaper Photographer,

If you think you are safe in your job, you aren’t.

I say that bluntly to make the point stick. You are a number. You are expendable. Your work will win awards. Your work will sell papers … I want this to be positive, but it’s hard to be in this situation. I’ve seen too many friends and colleagues come and go and that choice was never given to them.  Some are still shooting freelance, some had to give up photography as a career and pursue other things – but, they are some of the most creative and beautiful people on the planet.  It’s tough to watch photographers get drained through a funnel as they come into this field, and as they leave. Staying in the funnel is tough and proving to be tougher everyday.

I left my newspaper staff only a couple months ago on my own and loving every minute of it. It’s been busy as hell (knock on wood), but I’m learning everything on the fly which is exciting and nerve-racking. It’s a wonderful feeling. Open book.

Full letter on Redlights and Redeyes at this link…

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World Press Photo exhibition comes to London

November 12th, 2010 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Awards, Editors' pick, Events, Photography

The World Press Photo 2010 exhibition arrives in London today as the display of 167 winning photographs opens at the Royal Festival Hall, as part of its worldwide tour.

The annual competition takes entries from photojournalists, picture agencies, newspapers and magazines across the world, with the most recent winners selected from more than 100,000 entries.

This year’s World Press Photo of the Year was awarded to Italian photographer Pietro Masturzo. The exhibition also includes the work of seven photographers from the UK.

The exhibition runs daily until Sunday 5 December and is open from 10am to 11pm. Admission is free and there are more details on the Southbank Centre website.

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Controversy over Time Magazine cover showing mutilated Afghan woman

The Atlantic Wire site has published a series of different points of view about this week’s Time Magazine cover, which shows a harrowing image of an 18-year-old Afghan woman who has had her nose and ears cut off by the Taliban.

Under the headline “What Happens if We Leave Afghanistan”, the magazine’s picture caption reports that the woman was attacked for having tried to flee from “abusive in-laws”.

The Wire asks if Time Magazine is right to publish the cover, with answers first quoted from managing editor Richard Stengel discussing the reasons for their decision.

I thought long and hard about whether to put this image on the cover of Time (…) But bad things do happen to people, and it is part of our job to confront and explain them. In the end, I felt that the image is a window into the reality of what is happening — and what can happen — in a war that affects and involves all of us. I would rather confront readers with the Taliban’s treatment of women than ignore it. I would rather people know that reality as they make up their minds about what the U.S. and its allies should do in Afghanistan.

The article then moves to comments from a range of other publications, some who say the cover is “good journalism” while others feel it “oversimplifies war”.

See the full post here…

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Photojournalism student’s work captures attention of New Yorker visual editor

July 22nd, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Photography

A photojournalism student from the University of Gloucestershire has had her work selected and commented on by Elisabeth Biondi, visual editor of the New Yorker.

Along with other final-year students on the photojournalism and documentary photography course, Deborah Coleman submitted a small selection of images from her major project on the Wootton Bassett repatriation to Source, a photography magazine.

Four students from other universities have also had their work analysed by Biondi for the magazine’s website.

See the full selection of images at this link…

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ProPublica photographer followed by BP employee, detained by police

Police in England have come in for a fair amount of criticism recently for their treatment of photographers (see here and here), but their US counterparts have received some attention too after detaining freelance photographer Lance Rosenfield, who was working for ProPublica at the time.

Rosenfield was driving away after taking photos of a BP refinery in Texas City, Texas when he was followed by a BP employee, blocked off by two police cars and detained. Rosenfield had remained in a public space outside the refinery while working. The police reviewed his pictures and recorded his date of birth, Social Security number and other personal information. According to Rosenfield these details were then shared with BP.

Paul Steiger, editor-in-chief of ProPublica, said:

“We certainly appreciate the need to secure the nation’s refineries. But we’re deeply troubled by BP’s conduct here, especially when they knew we were working on deadline on critical stories about this very facility. And we see no reason why, if law enforcement needed to review the unpublished photographs, that should have included sharing them with a representative of a private company.”

Full story at this link…

via Fishbowl NY blog

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A lesson in integrity for photographers – from a bank!

December 21st, 2009 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Advertising, Multimedia, Photography

In this promotional video, HSBC attempts to identify itself with the moral high ground by portraying an ethical dilemma for a professional photojournalist. One can’t help wonder, in the real world, what might have been the outcome had the photographer been facing foreclosure on his mortgage…

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