Watching the BBC News 24 rolling news channel last Saturday afternoon as it rightly fixated on the ballsed-up terror attack on Glasgow Airport, it was at once gratifying and, frankly, worrying to see the constant flow of eye-witness pictures and videos hit the screen.
Gratifying because here was citizen journalism once again proving the point we've banged on about for two years now which is that whenever anything happens anywhere on the planet, it's going to be members of the public with cameras/cameraphones who are first on (or caught up in) the scene, well before the professional press pack gets there. Indeed, it was amusing listening to the BBC's first correspondent to arrive at the airport reporting from behind police lines ("I can see, er, smoke in the distance") while near-live pics captured by airport passengers were displayed on our TV screens. It's a powerful thing, this citizen journalism -- and absolutely essential for any news organisation to embrace. As the BBC does so well.
Worryingly well. Because while News 24 scooped the story with punters' pics, the flow of content into Scoopt was somewhat lacking.
Hmm. Why was that? Is it just that people don't care about getting paid for content -- content which is, in this case and others like it, extremely valuable (£££)? Is that they just don't know that there's a commercial market for amateur photos of a genuine news story but would use that market if they could -- and by extension a broker like Scoopt? Or is there a more complicated trend here where people's primary motivation is to share experiences... and only later, if at all, do they care about the potential for making money?
Probably the last of these. And in my view, that's probably best for the greater good. But what's important here -- what's really, really important -- is that people who want a fair reward for content that gets published or broadcast get that reward, either in the heat of the moment or later when the dust has settled. Because what really bugs me is when Sunday papers produce 8-page features using viewers' pictures grabbed (illegally) from TV broadcasts without paying the photographers a penny.
Not that I'm saying that this is necessarily what happened last weekend... but you can see the problem. When you send a hot picture to a broadcaster, will they sell it to the papers -- and if so, will you get paid or exploited? Or will they not sell it on -- in which case, is it any wonder if a paper resorts to publishing TV screengrabs when that's all they have?
In a word, or three, we're getting there. Right now, we're uploading a selected archive culled from submissions over the past couple of years. If you are a Scoopt member who has submitted pix in the past, you should be able to log in to the new site using your old email address and password. In the Dashboard, go to Manage your photos > Your Scoopt Gallery. There should see any photos that have made the editorial cut -- but do please give us a few more days.
If you can't login with your old details, you almost certainly did not respond to our (many) emails about accepting our new Terms and Conditions before the new site went live last week. If that's the case, we will not be including any of your old pics in the gallery and you are now no longer a Scoopt member. That's a terrible thing so please re-register with Scoopt.
We launched ScooptWords last summer as an experimental attempt to syndicate blog content commercially. And we succeeded, a bit. But the truth is that ScooptWords was only ever going to fly if we invested in heavy duty search and filtering tools that made the editor's (i.e. the buyer's) life easy. Without these, ScooptWords was a chocolate teapot. But we never quite got there and now, under Getty Images, we're focussing on what we do best, which is selling pictures.
So to everybody who signed up to ScooptWords -- well over 1,000 of you -- thanks, and sorry it didn't pan out as planned. Please now remove the ScooptWords button from your blogs (although it may have disappeared already... something to do with the code...). Special thanks to Graham Holliday who came onboard to mastermind the launch and understood more than anybody that good content can and should be paid for, not just lifted, printed and sold free of charge simply because the writer is a blogger rather than a pro journalist.
Scoopt doesn't go through radical changes very often but today sees the launch of an all-new website. The most obvious change is the inclusion of public picture galleries, which are frankly long overdue. Now, finally, contributors will see their submissions published online in Scoopt.
Well, some submissions. Hopefully most. The point is that Scoopt puts all content through a pretty stringent editorial process. We only accept content that we genuinely think has a chance of making a sale. If we don't think we can sell it, we'll tell you quickly and waive all rights. The very best pictures also get published on Getty Images editorial site here (use 'scoopt' as a search term).
So what do you think of the site so far? What else should we be doing? Tell us here. Right now, we're busy uploading about 1,500 archive images into the galleries now so bear with us while it all takes shape. And do please dive in and comment on any (all!) pics in the galleries.