Amateur photographers have a great advantage over professionals: They don´t have to make a living out of it. They do it for fun, honor and pride. If a news agency can pay their suppliers with immaterial value instead of money, it´s a great advantage for them. Now you can sum 1 and 1: The amateur photographer is the ideal cooperation partner for a news agency (paste newspaper, tv-station or webpage here if you like).
This conclusion is nothing new to the market. Print magazines are already using the Flickr photo community to generate content for free, TV-stations are searching youtube-videos and the german „BILD Zeitung“ asks everyone owning a mobile cam-phone to send their paparazzi snapshots in.
It´s not technical or creative quality that counts, it´s just about who has the pictures first and who gets them for free. Additionally to those mentioned above, Reuters today announced their „you witness“ programm.
Read what Reuters and Yahoo are planning to start and feel free to spread your work. It´s also worth reading the two articles available in german on „SPIEGEL online“: „Du knipst, ich verdiene“ and „Reuters will Amateurbilder vermarkten„. „Financial Times Deutschland“ has another story about the topic.