Where Are The Editors?

Posted on 5/26/2015 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

As the stock photo industry has changed and revenue for many stock images providers has declined many traditional providers have been forced to cut back on staff, and in particular editors.

This is also true of many photo users who previously had time to review portfolios, encourage new talent and support new photographers as they improved their skills. Now, most of the editors and picture buyers that are left have trouble keeping up with the images that fly across their desks, let alone find time to seek out the best images and encourage new talent.

The Times of London recently told Martin Stephens of Newzulu that they receive 35,000 images a day to review.

At the same time millions of photographers are taking pictures every day with their cell phones – some of them great pictures. A year ago Mary Meeker, a partner of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, said that 1.8 billion images are uploaded to the Internet every day. That was a 50% increase over 2013. Who knows how many are uploaded now, a year later?

Only a small percentage of the billions are of major, or narrowly focused local, news events, but they still represent a huge increase over what was available just a few years ago. Such images might be useful in informing segments of the population, but who can find them and sort through them. The publications don’t have time; the picture agencies that used to fulfill this role for the publications don’t have time.

New Editors

Enter the new crowd-sourcing organizations like Newzulu. They encourage all those who have been posting images on the Internet of something that has just happened infront of them, to upload then to Newzulu. In this way they will still be available for viewing and if a publication finds the image useful they may also be able to earn some revenue.

Newzulu is also a useful resource for those with the desire to break into the news photography business, but can’t get the attention of, or make contact with, any of the recognized publications or organizations that publish news information.

In 2006 AFP set up a citizen journalism business called Citizen Side that was pretty successful in the French speaking world. However, AFP eventually found that managing and verifying assets that were coming in from unknown providers didn’t fit well with the responsibilities they had to manage their own staff and the freelancers they were paying on a regular basis.

In 2013 Newzulu, an Australian company, bought this division of AFP and changed it from being a French focused business to an international business with bureaus in 10 countries around the world providing a 24/7 editorial package. Newzulu editors review everything submitted and provide editorial validation and verification to a global marketplace of 7,000 newspapers, magazines, websites and broadcasters.

Newzulu works primarily through news agency partners including: AFP, Aflo, PA, AAP, CTK, Nippon News, Getty Images and The Canadian Press. Their goal is to support the news agency operations by providing them with verified content from mostly unknown contributors around the world.

Most of the company’s revenue comes from partner sales and a very small percentage from direct sales to end-users.

They receive approximately 1,000 image submissions a day. About 80% are still images and 20% video and they come from over 150,000 contributors who have downloaded the app. An estimated 3,000 to 5,000 are regular contributors. In terms of stories there may be a more even mix than 80/20 because people tend to submit 10 still images on a story where they might only submit one video.

Stephens says, “We are very keen to build and encourage video because in terms of the market and value video can drive a bigger price and better engagement.”

As part of the fact checking contributors are required to supply some basic personal information when they upload. The GPS on cell phone images helps Newzulu confirm where the image was shot. By checking other Internet sources of information they can confirm that the image is accurately captioned. If the contributor hasn’t submitted images before they may will pick up the phone and talk to him or her. The image will not be forwarded on to their partners until the Newzulu editor is confident that the image is an accurate representation of what it purports to be.

The editors also work with new contributors to give them guidance as to how they might have improved a particular shot to make it more marketable. Stephens pointed out that, “you never know whose going to be the person who is at the right place at the right time.” Consequently, they try as much as possible to encourage everyone who goes to the trouble of submitting something.

Once vetted video clips are made available on YouTube as well as pushed to their partners. Creators receive no compensation when their work appears on YouTube, but occasionally a potential user will spot the work there and contact Newzulu for licensing.

Creators may license the same clips they post of Newzulu directly to end users, or simultaneously through other distributors, but most find that while they might earn more by selling direct the potential for additional revenue does not justify the work and expenses of delivering the content to multiple sources.

Newzulu believes that citizen journalism represents a crucial part of the future of news because it responds to the demand for instant eyewitness information and original content from all parts of the globe. With digital technology now allowing citizens to report the news as they witness it, Newzulu International provides the platform to publish these stories and offer them to broad network of media outlets.

Newzulu has also recently entered into a partnership arrangement with Scoopshot, but the exact ways the two will be combining resources is still being worked out.

Copyright © 2015 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of www.selling-stock.com, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to: http://www.jimpickerell.com/Curriculum-Vitae.aspx.  


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