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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 May 2006, 12:11 GMT 13:11 UK
Amateur snappers get their reward
Tube being evacuated after London bombing, Alexander Chadwick/BBC
Snaps shot during events, like the London bombings, often prove iconic
Members of the public who have shot newsworthy images could get their reportage recognised by a new award.

Backed by Nokia and the UK's Press Gazette the Citizen Journalism Award will spotlight people who found themselves witnesses to events that made the news.

It has been created because so many people own phones that can shoot snaps or video clips, said the Press Gazette.

Amateur snappers have until 30 June to submit entries.

Shooting scoops

The competition is open to anyone that has shot stills or video that has been printed, broadcast or appeared online in the last 12 months. Working journalists are excluded from entering.

To be eligible the footage or stills must have been shot between 1 May 2005 and 30 April 2006.

Although citizens have always been caught up in newsworthy events, the advent of camera phones that can instantly send images to websites or on to news organisations has prompted talk of "citizen journalism".

Many news organisations, including the BBC, now solicit images and video from those at the scene of big events. In the UK, the London bombings in July 2005 and the Buncefield oil terminal fire are just two events coverage of which was expanded by contributions from citizens.

"Citizen Journalism has exploded onto the media agenda and we hope this award will mark a key next step in recognising this phenomenon as an important and credible part of journalism," said Ian Reeves, editor of the Press Gazette in a statement.

In the last year specialised photo agencies have sprung up that seek to get a good deal for citizens that shoot images that are used by media organisations.

Also this week media heavyweights are meeting to debate how technology is changing how people consume and create news at the We Media Conference.

Judges for the award include Channel 4 News presenter Jon Snow; BBC News interactivity editor Vicky Taylor; editor of CNN.com Europe Nick Wrenn and chairman of the Picture Editors Awards Glyn Genin.

The winner of the award will be announced on 16 July.

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