Selling Video Footage to News Agencies

Breaking news can happen anywhere, anytime. But because most news agencies do not have reporters everywhere all the time, many news agencies today depend on so-called stringers or freelancers to capture and deliver footage they can use on air.

What’s more, with the ubiquity of inexpensive digital video cameras and camera-equipped cell phones, ”˜citizen journalists’ are not only capturing raw video footage of breaking news events, they are packaging and delivering their own completed news reports to TV and Web-based news organizations.

Depending on the quality of the video footage and the policy of the news organization, you may be paid for your contributions.

1. Speed is of the essence if you capture a breaking news story on video. Contact a news agency or TV station as soon as you can, and connect with the News Desk or Assignment Editor if possible. You might also speak with reporters and journalists who show up at a news site after you do.

2. Explain the situation or news story briefly, and describe what kind of video footage you have captured. Technical quality may not matter as much if the news footage is compelling and unique, but the better your camera and camera work is, the more likely a station will use it.

3. Demonstrate your commitment to ”˜news’ and the value of the story first ”“ then talk about the value of the footage itself and ask how much the agency might be willing to pay for its use. Payment can be for a one-time use or airing, or it can be for outright ownership and exclusivity.


There are some Web-based companies that act as agents for citizen journalists and freelance news videographers, buying or acquiring footage and then marketing it to a wide range of TV or Web outlets on their behalf.

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15 thoughts on “Selling Video Footage to News Agencies

  1. justin

    I have video of violent street fight in Stanton Ca, i am soliciting all news channels to sell this video.

  2. Dave

    Raw footage of the after math of a horrific fatal motorcycle accident on Sunset Blvd on July 28-2015. Video to major news networks

  3. Hal Post author

    If you want to sell your footage, try posting it on YouTube with superimposed text so it won’t be stolen. But posting it here is a waste of time because the buyers of news do not read these comments. Better than YouTube, contact the news organizations directly. Why tell us? We don’t buy news footage. They do.

  4. Steve Troie

    Vehicle fire with fatalities in Autozone parking lot South Sacramento, video from start to finish, fire fighter cutting out panel to exhume. Best offers for your local morning news. Steve 916-889-1495

  5. Dara

    I have some very bizarre unexplained footage taken while on a flight. It has to be seen to be believed. I wish to sell said footage.

  6. Peter Fuentes

    I have footage of police in Pembroke Pines Florida attempting to save two victims who drowned in their vehicle. I also have footage of a man who was one of the first to dive in and attempt to pull the victims out.

  7. Dennis

    I have a meteor in perfect 1080hd center framed on a full moon sky that lit up the night just like day! Exploding in to a multitude of colors before burning out. A once in a lifetime video captured on my dash cam. Local news wants it. I don’t know what to do. In slow motion it’s insanly beautiful.


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