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New CrowdMedia Startup Looks to Replace PhotoJournalists with Twitter Images

By Anthony Thurston on July 18th 2013

As if being a photojournalist was not hard already, you can add the new startup CrowdMedia to the list of obstacles. The new startup, which is currently seeking investment to take the service into public beta, combs through social networks like Twitter and Instagram to find “Newsworthy” images of major events. The service then contacts the owners of the images and gets permission to sell the images to new outlets at $20 per image. The profit is split 50/50, half to the owner of the image and half to CrowdMedia.

We want to completely crush today’s model of journalism


CrowdMedia’s platform combs through 150 million shared photos every day, all in an effort to weed out the .03 percent that are the slightest bit newsworthy. The platform got it’s first “proof of concept” moment just 15 minutes after going online.

Back on June 7th there was a shooting at Santa Monica College, CrowdMedia’s platform detected the increased image sharing around the area and jumped into high gear. The platform managed to weed out several images from within the closed off dorms. They contacted the student, got the rights to sell the images, and had them sold to publishers within minutes. The service proved itself again in a similar matter with the recent plane crash in San Francisco.


In a world where new organizations like AFB and the Washington Post are being sued for more than $100,000 per image they lifted from twitter without permission, a service like CrowdMedia looks very appealing to major news outlets. They don’t have to worry about getting the rights, they can just check their CrowdMedia account, select the images they need, pay, and be on their way.

This is a real threat to your standard photojournalist, its no secret that some news organizations no longer place much stock in professionally taken images. The name of the game is speed, not quality nowadays. $20 may not sound like much, but if that image gets sold 1000 times (very doable for a major news event) that equals $10,000 for the photographer. Even if the image is sold just 100 times, that means $1000 for the photographer. Not bad for a few minutes of work with your smartphone.

crowdmedia-photo-1-1 crowdmedia-photo-2

What are your thoughts? Is this a detriment to photojournalists or an opportunity?  Let us know in the comments below.

 [via Venture Beat]

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Anthony Thurston is a photographer based in the Salem, Oregon area specializing in Boudoir. He recently started a new project, Fiercely Boudoir to help support the growing boudoir community. Find him over on Instagram. You may also connect with him via Email.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. gerry suchy

    This is nothing more than a race to the bottom. This happened and is still happening with crowd sourced graphic design. The quality and creativity deteriorate while the client believes that they are improving their bottom line by saving money. The old adage remains true – “You get what you pay for.”

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  2. Ian Kydd’Miller

    Just another way of working that may actually increase sales but I doubt it. Replace quality with quantity and you basically have crap …

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  3. Robert Farmer

    I would be interested to hear from the “citizen photographers” cited in this article exactly how much of a return they actually saw for the use of their exclusive images?

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  4. Pat Harris

    Yuck. Silly erosion. I even hate Instagram.

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