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Guardian Launches User-Generated Content Platform, GuardianWatch

The Guardian has a new way for the community and newsroom to connect to tell stories via the web, an iPhone app and Android app. GuardianWitness is the organization’s new “open journailsm” platform that lets readers submit pictures, videos and text to journalists directly from an assignment.

Selected contributions will go anywhere on The Guardian’s publishing platforms. From the announcement:

If your submission is picked up by a journalist it could go on to be featured across the Guardian – in print and online – which means you can help set the news agenda and become part of the Guardian’s award-winning journalism.

The platform is a partnership with EE, the UK’s first and only superfast 4G mobile network .
 

The best part: Assignments from editors

 What I like most about this platform is that in addition to submitting whatever you want or content around breaking news, editors select weekly assignments.  From a press release:

Each week, Guardian editors will set users a range of GuardianWitness “assignments” from across the spectrum of the Guardian’s editorial output – including news, sport, culture and life and style. Assignments for launch include ‘tall buildings‘, linked to a forthcoming Observer / RIBA discussion. Assignments will also take the form of exclusive competitions.

This does a few powerful things from the UGC perspective:

  1. Gives readers incentive to continue coming back.
  2. Helps reduce the barrier to entry by providing a starting point for people to jump in.
  3. Treats the readers like they are truly citizen journalists – they’re reporting to an editor!
  4. It also gets the news editors involved directly in the community and in engagement efforts, which, in many newsrooms, defaults to the responsibility of the web or social media team.
In addition to assignments, readers can also contribute news during live breaking news or suggestions for what reporters should be investigating.
Download the app: iPhone  |  Android
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