News & Opinion

Joanna Geary announces GuardianWitness at Shift 2013

Joanna Geary, the Guardian’s social and communities editor, today unveiled a new platform that will allow people from around the world to submit their content directly to Guardian journalists.

GuardianWitness, in partnership with EE, will build on the Guardian's groundbreaking model of open journalism to crowdsource content from around the globe by enabling users to share videos, pictures and text directly with the Guardian’s editorial team, as well as to browse the contributions submitted by other GuardianWitness users.

Geary announced the new platform during her 'Social conversations' session with Twitter's Bruce Daisley at Newsworks' first-ever conference Shift 2013. 

Launched in partnership with EE - the UK’s first superfast 4G mobile network - GuardianWitness is an innovative collaboration, demonstrating the Guardian’s open approach to working with brands to create new digital experiences for audiences.

GuardianWitness is available to users on any network via free iPhone and Android apps, or online at witness.guardian.co.uk. Selected submissions will go on to be featured on the Guardian website and / or in the Guardian or Observer newspapers, enabling users to help set the news agenda and become part of the Guardian's award-winning journalism, comment and reporting. Video submissions will also appear on a new GuardianWitness YouTube channel.

GuardianWitness will encourage user content submissions in three ways:

  • Assignments: 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.
  • Live news: Guardian and Observer editors and reporters will sometimes invite readers to contribute submissions to breaking news stories to help report the day’s events from all corners of the world. As well as being published on the GuardianWitness apps and website - and because GuardianWitness is deeply integrated into the Guardian's editorial tools - selected submissions for these categories will be picked by editors to also feature directly in news articles and liveblogs. Users will be alerted to news stories that are welcoming contributions with a GuardianWitness badge - for instance videos of the latest extreme weather event.
  • Submit a story: Users will be encouraged to submit content or ideas about stories or topics that might be of interest to the Guardian. Content submitted to this "open" assignment will not necessarily be published on GuardianWitness, but suitable submissions will be flagged to our editorial team who may want to follow up on them for possible stories and features, or set up a new assignment based on the original submission.

In order to contribute content to GuardianWitness, users will need to create an account, either through their existing Guardian account or through their Facebook / Twitter profiles. GuardianWitness content can also be shared by users on Facebook and Twitter.

"At the Guardian we have a long history of getting our readers involved in our journalism," Geary said. "In the last few years alone our readers have helped us to review MPs’ expenses documents, follow the UK riots, gain real-time insights into the Arab Spring as events in the Middle East unfolded and challenge the government's employment schemes.

"GuardianWitness will further reinforce our recognition that journalism is now a two-way conversation and will open up our site as we never have before. Not only will this make it even easier for our readers to get involved in our journalism and form both local and global communities of joint interest, it will also provide our journalists with a fantastic new tool, providing them with insights and views that we perhaps don’t yet have access to.

"We can’t wait to see how the platform grows and develops in the coming months and look forward to sharing some of the best contributions with our global audience.”

Spencer McHugh, director of brand, EE added: "Smartphones have changed the way in which news is covered and shared around the world as ground-breaking mobile technology breaks down the barriers between journalists and the public. As the first providers of superfast 4G in Britain, EE is uniquely placed to support this transformation in the way news is reported, consumed and shared. This revolutionary new platform from the Guardian recognises these developments, enabling users to film or photograph something and share it with the Guardian’s editorial team in a matter of seconds, and EE is delighted to support the Guardian’s approach to open journalism.”

Further information about GuardianWitness is available at witness.guardian.co.uk. The free iPhone app is available here and the free Android app is available here.

Download Joanna's 'Social conversations' presentation from Shift 2013 here.

16/04/13

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