No, the headline is not simply to make Laura feel more at home. This is the German term for citizen journalism, which is being pushed by the country's biggest-selling newspaper in an intriguing way.

Bild is selling branded video cameras at the equivalent of around just £60 - thanks to a deal with value supermarket chain Lidl - which it wants its readers to use to capture stills and video footage of news events and upload them to its web site. (See here and the Guardian follow-up here).

A good thing? The answer has to be yes. It certainly shouldn't be seen as a threat to the profession. As we've seen, the video camera is simply one tool that the trained journalist can use to help tell a story. Without the training, it's just a cheap video camera. It might help put a story in context if someone happens to be in the right place and the right time, but it's not going to turn the 82 million German citizens into bona fide reporters.

Mind you, perhaps we'll ask the question again when the first Bild-branded video camera is prized from the dead hands of a citizen journalist who got too close to the fire they were trying to capture.


Such ideas, that have already been discussed etc, are now finally coming into reality. The problem with these is, that yes - the possibilities are endless and the possible shots captured can be amazing, but will they even achive any level of quality?

Possibly, there will be many new non-journalists that will jump into the industry and actually manage to do something worthwhile. However, to filter that, edit that and direct that (most likely not the plan here) is completely impossible. What they increase, is somesort of a newsstory (9/11 - traditional images are from phone-cameras and videos also from phones) being captured. Often the case is, that no actual journalist could ever get there in time.

As we all know now, it's quite hard to produce a quality video package.

But that's OK: the people who send in their footage are adding great pictures that we wouldn't otherwise see.

Beyond that, I can't see many extra people trying their luck as a freelance journalist as video cameras become more widely available.

Rates for freelance footage are going down, and there are plenty of people who supply footage that don't expect to be paid. For most people, it's just too hard to make money.

Seems quite a controversial issue, however a very interesting idea, and obviously the more investigative photos the better for a newspaper. Yet in the Guardian piece the lawyer Graef states that "you now have 82 million video journalists at large-" Which really does seem worrying.

Yet i think on the contrary to the spokeswoman for the German Journalists' association, Eva Werners view, i don't think that it would undermine professional journalists.

Do they get any reward if they find something really interesting? Doubful, but maybe they should...

It's quite ironic that the supermarket chain Lidl, that was under pressure earlier this year when it emerged that they used their CCTV to spy on employees' privacy, now sells cameras...

But I think that for example the Tsunami disaster when TV channels showed videos shot by tourists was such an occasion where "ordinary people" and not correspondents suddenly became the ones to film an extreme situation, just by accident.

On the other hand, Bild has had a "Leser-Reporter"-campaign going on for more than two years now, and it's mostly people taking pictures with their mobile phones of some C-Celebrities they spot on the beach, in a store or whatever. That's not anything special, and unless you're that celecrity you wouldn't really worry about it. 

However, there has been a really scary case when there was a bus accident, which killed 20 people, and someone passed by and instead of stopping to call ambulances etc., he shot a video on his phone and then drove away. Later, he sold the video to the news channel N24.

This is the video ( from Tagesthemen (comparable to Newsnight), that reports on this case.

It's very interesting, but I'm sorry there's no English version :)

To be honest, the Bild-Zeitung is not exactly what I'd think of as a place for Volksjournalismus, rather for Volks-Paparazzi.