Live your Dream as a Photojournalist with DEMOTIX


I have the upmost respect for photojournalist, especially those who risk their lives to report in the nether regions of social justice. Think Don McCullin, Kevin Carter and Eddy Adams. I had the pleasure of meeting Eddy Adams once in the 1990s and was in awe of what he had done. To risk his life to report the news was indeed noble.

Since then, the transition to digital photography and digital imaging has taken a huge chunk from this once reputable profession. The pay is no longer rewarding, and your employers would rather not send you into a hot zone just because they are reluctant to pay your expenses or take out a Lloyds of London Insurance Premium. The decline of print based journalism made it totally unfashionable to get qualified photojournalist into the hot zone and thus was born Demotix. This is where newspapers like Le Monde, BBC, WallStreet Journal and New York Times start looking for a cheaper alternative and it's not Reuters, AP, UPI or AFP.

Demotix hopes to change how photojournalism works by offering you the chance to work like a pro and be paid like an amateur should you suddenly find yourself with too much free time on your hands. Profits are split 50:50 but there is no mention on what is the going rate is for pictures and videos.The term "profits" is contentious. Profits are not calculated at "gross" as there is a withholding TAX which is applied to your earnings. Even though you are working and reporting from a place outside of the UK, Demotix will minus your earnings for UK Tax.

Press Credentials for Amateurs

In the old days, this was the passport to getting great news but these days, a Press Pass is more useful for getting into a rock concert without paying. You can only apply for press credentials from Demotix after you have logged in 20 stories. If you don't have 20 stories to your name, you'd have to fork out US$20 for one.

This makes good sense as the press credentials will offer you a chance to roll with the crowd at public events, expos and product launches. It might even get you pass a police cordoned line if you are lucky. This card will enable you to get a validated national news accreditation, which is far more valuable for collecting news items from you own country.

Equipment Questions

Fortunately for most of us armed only with an iPhone, this is only requirement you'd need to apply to send news to this agency. Demotix takes both still photos and video feeds so whatever you have, you can load it up and send it in. DSLR are the preferred choice but your trusty iPhone will do should Godzilla ever came ashore in a hurry.

Items shot with a DSLR will have to be uploaded using a web browser so there is no real preference to equipment by Demotix. You do not have to use their custom iPhone app just to upload news items.

For the mobile photojournalist, Demotix only offers an iPhone app (which should work on an iPad I reckon) for those quick uploads but no word yet on an Android or Windows Mobile (or Blackberry) app.

From Demotix's business model, I had to refer to the Wiki which said that your news stories would be sold from between US$50 to US$3,000 per story. Demotix can also sell exclusive stories at a much higher rate though I do not expect this to be the norm. Exclusive stories cost you money and time, and if you are not well heeled enough to crack the next Watergate or Irangate feature, I doubt you can score an exclusive.

Even though Demotix may not offer you the best news credentials to carry out into the field, it does offer you a way to get started in the heady world of photojournalism armed with only the bare essentials.

Making Money Opportunities

There are many of us who dream of breaking into the news industry. Unfortunately every blogger on the planet seems to have the same idea and for you to score points above them, you can't be desk bound. If you like going about and looking for things to report on, there is plenty to do.

To be fair, Demotix offers you the opportunity to break into the this world and it should not be taken lightly. Being in the position to offer news to the world is something unique and can even be life changing. Think of it as a stepping stone to your next career option.