ISSN: 20010818
First published in 2012
3 issues per volume
Volume 6 Issue 2
Cover Date: June 2017
News values of amateur photographs
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Authors:  Kathrin Schmieder 
DOI: 10.1386/ajms.6.2.269_1

amateur photographs,citizen journalism,news values,newsworthiness,professional news media practice,sourcing

This article reflects on the decision-making process concerning the content criteria for the inclusion of amateur photographs in the news. The concept of news values gives an insight into this practice. I ask what content criteria amateur photographs convey that news media workers perceive as valuable, and which additional process-related characteristics are important. The findings show that the sourcing of amateur photographs largely follows traditional news values such as unpredictability, amplitude, conflict and negativity. They also reveal the importance of additional factors such as access and proximity. In addition, the article considers the relationship between the idea of high and low newsworthiness and the sourcing of amateur photographs, and shows that they are mainly applied at the ‘extreme ends of the news spectrum’. This important insight could be one of the keys to understanding how the professional news media adapt in the face of significant change in the media, and where the professional approach of assigning photographers is still relevant.
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