This crowdsourced journalism start-up Fresco News became popular by partnering with Fox newsrooms throughout the U.S. The app allows amateur journalists and ordinary citizens to submit content to be used on local new stations. Citizens respond to assignments sent out by local news stations by going out and filming and taking pictures of the event. Users are compensated up to 50 dollars if their materials are used on air.
We’re not surprised that news production is now heading in this direction, considering that everything around us seems to be influenced by technology.
But what does this really mean for the future of news? And is this app doing more bad than good?
Using Fresco means that anyone with a smart phone is qualified to take pictures and videos for news stations.
But as peachy as Fresco creators want to paint this app, it’s impossible to not see all the flaws with it.
The Fresco app is casually taking away jobs from experienced photojournalists who go to school for years to hone their craft.
Fresco is being labeled as a trendy way to cut costs for local news stations. In other words, this is a way for news stations to not have to pay or respect the jobs of talented photo journalists.
Fresco supporters, like Fox News, say it is a win/win for everyone. They believe they are giving people a chance to act like photojournalists if they are passionate about it, but this is not true. Most Fresco users are only doing it for the quick money and not because they care about the quality of their work.
“We’ve been trying to do this the right way for years, but all that was missing were some ambitious 20-somethings and a simple app,” said FOX Television Stations SVP News Operations, Sharri Berg, in a statement about the deal.
Everything about Fresco is pointing to it being the Uber of news production, but is this really a good thing? Just look at Uber, it’s easy to point out the company’s unprofessionalism, sexism, and user abuse.
Why would we want our news to replicate this? Shouldn’t we just leave it to the professionals?
Fresco aims to pay amateurs to do the work that photojournalists are trained to do.
Now does this mean that people who spent years studying journalism may not be passed up on positions in favor of Fresco amateurs? This is highly possible.
Will the implication of Fresco eventually destroy the integrity of news production? It’s hard to tell but it’s not looking good.
Are photojournalists even really needed if the job can be done by citizens with no appreciation or education about photography? All the signs seem to be pointing to this.
Personally, I find that Fresco is just a way for new stations to pay workers less than what they are worth, so it’s no surprise that their major backer is Fox News. I can only hope that more major news conglomerates don’t adopt this app and keep respecting their journalists. But only time will tell.