Tyler Wakstein’s video of the finish line at the Boston Marathon didn’t get a huge amount of traffic. For horrific reasons his graphic still of the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing did.
— Tyler Wakstein (@theoriginalwak) April 15, 2013
Shortly afterwards Tyler was bombarded with shocked, dismayed, bewildered questions. And a lot more from news gatherers asking if they could use his picture online, in newspapers and on television.
As of 11pm on 15 April it’s had over 4,000 retweets and Wakstein has been appearing on broadcast media all day.
Should you – can you – use social media pictures in this way? If you’re a journalist the upside to getting eyewitness reports and media via Twitter is obvious. It’s more evidence of my belief that of all social media platforms Twitter is by far the most useful – at once a live ticker tape, media source, RSS feed and crowd to be sourced at once.
The wherefores and hows are still rather more nebulous – here’s a couple of guides from Journalism.co.uk and The BBC on using social media for reporters – and a guide to the likely fees that people may charge if you want to use their photos.
@theoriginalwak I work for NBC in NY and am interested in speaking with you &using your picture on air.Please DM me if you would like my #
— Rob Rivas (@RobrivasNBC) April 15, 2013
— Tim Gowa (@timgowa) April 15, 2013
@theoriginalwak Hi Tyler – Did you take this photo? could we speak w/ you about what you saw & may we use it on the Daily News? 2122797130
— Lauren Johnston (@NYDN_Lauren) April 15, 2013
@theoriginalwak Hey Tyler – are you OK if we use this photo on the Newstalk ZB website?
— Ed Swift (@swiftynz) April 15, 2013
— NBC News Pictures (@NBCNewsPictures) April 15, 2013
@theoriginalwak Tyler, can USA TODAY Sports use this photo for our story? Thanks, Mike
— Mike Foss (@themikefoss) April 15, 2013
— Armand Emamdjomeh (@emamd) April 15, 2013
@theoriginalwak I’m a Photo Editor at the Globe and Mail in Canada. I’d like permission to use your image. Please contact me.
— David Lucas (@PhotoDeskLucas) April 15, 2013
— Angela Nelson (@BostonAngela) April 15, 2013
@theoriginalwak Tyler, photo editor for Toronto Star here. OK to republish with credit? 416-869-4341, email@example.com or DM me.
— Canice Leung (@canice) April 15, 2013
— Anomaly One Hundred (@Anomaly100) April 15, 2013
@theoriginalwak Tyler, were you the one who took this picture?
— Liz Heron (@lheron) April 15, 2013
— NRK.no (@NRKno) April 15, 2013
@theoriginalwak Did you take this photo?
— FOX40 News (@FOX40) April 15, 2013
@theoriginalwak This is your photo? We can use it on the web site of the Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported with reference to you?
— Ты — репортер (@you_reporter) April 15, 2013
@theoriginalwak hello from the NY Post, amazing photo, please call us, we want to use your image in the paper 212-930-8505
— Juan Arellano (@porsupuesto) April 15, 2013