It's official: camera phones have crossed the barrier between fun novelty to useful and valuable feature. The New York Times reported yesterday that more media outlets have started to pay for camera phone photos of newsworthy people and events. As camera phones continue to proliferate and as their photo-taking abilities get better in quality, so-called "citizen journalists" are snapping shots and sending them to their favorite newspaper or Web site.
Though the trend started in 2004 with the Asian tsunami and continued last year with the London Underground bombings, the German newspaper Bild is paying up to 1,000 euros ($1,278) for valuable pictures, according to the New York Times. What's more, other papers in Germany and in Norway feature sections dedicated to camera phone photos from readers, and the British Web site Scoopt.com provides a forum to sell your shots. But don't think that all photos need to be of disastrous events. In case you're an aspiring member of the paparazzi, photos of celebrity sightings are also in demand. Sure it's all a bit Big Brother-ish, but if you see Mel Gibson being pulled over, get your phone ready.