New app combines crowdsourcing, photojournalism

Bringing readers quick coverage with meaningful visuals is a lot like the real estate market. It boils down to one thing: location, location, location. If reporters aren’t on the scene, it’s tough to get photos … or your readers will get the photos somewhere else. But a new app called Tackable might reshape newsgathering efforts, as smart phone users can upload, tag and share images. Anyone with the app can assume the role of photojournalist, submitting photos to local news organizations. On the flip side, photo editors can issue assignments through the app and those nearby can help make instant connections.

Based on crowdsourcing and the growing emphasis on hyper-local coverage, Tackable aims to help reporters publish better articles faster. Poynter’s Damon Kiesow profiles the new app in a Feb. 11 article and explains how the San Jose Mercury News and other Bay Area media organizations are inviting users to share photos tagged with their location.

Naturally, high school media advisers might be interested in how the same idea could work at our level. We all know how difficult it is to have student reporters out in the field when many of them don’t drive or struggle to juggle sports, jobs and extra-curriculars. It’s not easy to mobilize coverage efforts when breaking news happens off-campus. The potential with this type of social media is incredible, since anyone with the app can become an instant photographer on the scene, shooting and submitting images for use in your publications. This also helps provide quick first-hand sources for student journalists. It connects reporters with people who were there.

San Jose State University’s Spartan Daily is leading the way, using a similar method.

Since taking photos and shooting video by phone is an everyday activity for many teens, we can only expect citizen journalism to grow, and it all leads to some exciting possibilities for student journalists.

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