CBS (NYSE: CBS) News has quietly launched a citizen journalism site, where users can upload photos and videos directly from their mobile phone, for everyone to see. Last week the site at Cbseyemobile.com, was featuring a video someone took at Seattle’s airport, where someone reported that a long line was forming after a lockdown went into effect because of a security breach. You can imagine at some point, the TV station could promote the service on air to ask people to submit pictures or videos of the latest natural disaster.
We heard the site launched last week during CTIA, but CBS is expected to promote it more heavily starting as soon as this week. CBS was not immediately available for comment. For now, the service only works with some carriers, and it seems maybe only Verizon Wireless (NYSE: VZ). Users upload content to the site by sending a MMS with the photo or video to the shortcode “85888,” or by email. Users can enter a short description into the body of the text or email to explain what’s going on in the photo or video. People can view content on the phone by going to the URL, or by texting “Go” to the same shortcode.
Some traditional reporters have criticized citizen journalism because it doesn’t ensure accuracy or quality of the content. But more traditional media outlets have been adding eyewitness options over the past couple of years with no shortage of contributions — or of interest, especially in breaking news situations. Camera phones make it easy to upload video or images quickly, as do cameras with “YouTube options.” Last week’s Olympic torch relay in San Francisco is a good example. Activists were planning protests, but breaking news was hard to come by, according to reports, except for Twitter.