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Guardian and EE pair to launch citizen journalism service GuardianWitness

The Guardian and EE have announced a user-generated content site called GuardianWitness in a pairing the operator hopes will showcase its 4G network and complement the newspaper’s “open journalism” strategy.

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Unveiled earlier today (April 16) at NewsWorks’ Shift 2013 event GuardianWitness will let the general public submit videos, pictures and text directly via their mobile devices to the title’s editorial for inclusion on the platform.

The new platform is currently available via free iPhone or Android apps, both powered by EE, or online with selected submissions going on to feature on the Guardian’s print or online editions, including The Observer, with video submissions also potentially featuring on the title’s YouTube channel.

Speaking at Shift 2013, Joanna Geary, digital development editor at The Guardian, said the EE tie-up was a new type of brand partnership and “something we’ve not done before [but] something we want to do again.”

She added: “This is a really editorially significant project, wouldn’t have been able to do it in the time we’ve been able to do it without EE.”

Despite the fact that GuardianWitness is being billed as a “partnership”, The Guardian will have full editorial control over its output although EE can have influence on one assignment a month, according to Geary speaking at an event earlier today.

Spencer McHugh, director of brand at EE said: “Smartphones have changed the way in which news is covered and shared around the world as ground-breaking mobile technology breaks down the barriers between journalists and the public.

“This revolutionary new platform from the Guardian recognises these developments, enabling users to film or photograph something and share it with the Guardian’s editorial team in a matter of seconds, and EE is delighted to support the Guardian’s approach to open journalism.”

The Guardian is relying on an “open strategy” including using user-generated content and having an open API to aid its ongoing transition to a “digital first” strategy in stark contrast to rival approaches, such as the Daily Telegraph’s recently launched UK paywall.

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