Eyewitness Media Hub launch Guiding Principles for Journalists

It’s been over a year since we launched our Tow Center research on the use of User Generated Content by 24-hour television news organisations. The report’s tweetable headline was: “it’s a Wild West out there”, an observation which led us to form Eyewitness Media Hub in the first place. 16 months later, and with two further reports under our belt, it seems that this description still fits.

Having been approached by a number of newsrooms looking for best practice advice, we set about developing these Guiding Principles.

If you are already familiar with these suggestions then we hope they will serve as a useful reminder of issues to consider. If not, then we hope they will at least spark further discussion with your colleagues and peers. Our aim is that elements of these principles will be lifted and used to inform internal policies. We would also like them to be included as part of newsroom training and journalism school curricula.

You will find a ‘cut out and keep’ a copy of these Guiding Principles in full at http://eyewitnessmediahub.com/resources/guiding-principles-for-handling-eyewitness-media, but we have also created these handy, shareable cards in the hope that this advice will reach as many interested parties as possible. Please share with your networks of colleagues and students.

The development of these guiding principles was a collaborative process. We prepared a draft outline based on our recent research findings and shared it with selected journalists who source and report visual content captured at the scene of news events on a daily basis. We asked for feedback on what we had missed and sought confirmation that our recommendations were realistic. These consultations were hugely valuable and helped us to hone the language to reflect the pressure that journalists face in the newsroom when a story breaks.

We welcome any feedback or suggestions for improvement so please tweet us @emhub or add your comments to this post.


As a member of the First Draft Coalition, Eyewitness Media Hub will be developing supporting resources for each of these principles to feature on the new First Draft site, which launches at the end of September, 2015. Follow @firstdraftnews for updates.

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