December 29, 2009 12:27 ET

Top 10 Citizen News Photographs of 2009 Chosen by and Tips on How to Become a Citizen Photojournalist

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwire - December 29, 2009) - The top 10 citizen news photos of the year, ranging from a collapsed stadium in Malaysia to a helicopter crash in Hong Kong, were selected by editors at, a news site that features photographs of current events taken by amateur photographers.

The photographs were selected from thousands of images submitted by more than 11,000 amateur photographers who are members of

"The quality of news photos submitted by citizen journalists is improving tremendously," said Jim DeBoth, president of "Every month we continue to receive photographs that are incredible, impactful and just as good as any found in the mainstream press."

Photographers can follow a few simple steps to become citizen photojournalists, according to Jason Geil, photo editor:

1. Know the rules. You have rights as a citizen and as long as you're in public, you are essentially free to photograph whatever you like. Of course you should always respect authorities, but you have just as much right to document a news event in public as any professional journalist.

2. Move fast. If you photograph news or a celebrity, you need to act quickly in getting it "out there," which in today's world means online. The longer you wait, the less relevant photos and information become. You will receive the most impact and attention if you publish your images within the same day you photograph them.

3. Write descriptively. Information is key to adding impact to your photographs. Photographing the 50-car pile-up on the highway is only part of it. Adding information such as what highway, location, time of day and possibly the cause can help set you apart as a citizen photojournalist.

4. Promote. Shooting photographs as a citizen photojournalist is only half the fun. Promoting your photos can be just as rewarding. Upload your images to a site like WeSay, CNN's iReport or Yahoo's You Witness News and let the wheels of viral marketing work their magic. The more eyes on your photos, the more people pass it along to friends. Some amateurs have received millions of online views and the world's attention for their photographs. is the only site dedicated solely to citizen photojournalism. The site publishes photographs of news and current events taken by amateur photographers around the world. Each month the site pays 30 photographers for their images, from $500 to $25.

"Our mission is to empower the average person to record events taking place around them and to make a statement with their photography," DeBoth said. "Millions of citizens now carry photographic devices with them -- either a cell phone or digital camera -- and they have the ability to document the news the way they see it."

Membership and photo contests are free. For more information, contact the photo editor: info(at)