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Yahoo debuts ‘You Witness News’

Starting tomorrow, users can submit photos and video via Yahoo for display on both Yahoo News and Reuters.com. And Reuters will also start distributing some of the submitted content to its print, online and broadcast subscribers. Called “You Witness News,” submitted photos and video will appear on Flickr and presumably Yahoo Video. Editors will then screen it to see which content is worth promoting to news stories or be distributed to Reuters clients. Yahoo will use the content for its sports and entertainment sections, and the company said it will soon expand to local news and high school sports. Meanwhile, users will not be paid unless their content is distributed, although the payment structure has not been finalized. This is the largest citizen journalism partnership to date — the most popular news site on the web teaming with the second largest wire service — and the fact that Yahoo wants to extend it into local news and high school sports should set off alarm bells at local TV stations everywhere (except, perhaps, media partners of Yahoo, although it’s unclear whether they would have access to this content). As we’ve urged before, it’s high time local TV sites encourage their users to submit news and sports video and photos before the portals and national news sites steal it away. (Full disclosure: I work for a Belo TV station, and Belo newspapers are Yahoo media partners.)

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