ITV News will launch a citizen journalism website on 31 July that will also feed user-generated comment back to its news programmes.

The service, called Uploaded, is currently in the last stages of a 100-person pilot phase prior to a national roll out.

When launched, the website will feature viewer's contributions to daily debates.

Candid pieces of comment and opinion from 'citizen correspondents' will then be used across ITV news programmes in ‘short chunks’ edited to entice people to visit the website and to complement its TV reporting work.

Viewers signed up to the service will be encouraged to submit short video clips from mobile phones and personal computers.

To ensure public exposure, submissions to the site will have to adhere to the same compliance standards as ITV TV news.

Introducing the service at the Future of News conference in London today, Deborah Turness, editor of ITV News, told delegates that Uploaded was a multi-platform format to allow 'real' people to make contributions to news programmes.

"The millions that are blogging, exchanging views online and uploading clips to YouTube are building communities and networks that are excluding us," she said.

"What are we doing about the fact that every second spent talking about news online and outside of our communities is a second spent not watching us, in our environment, on television news? The truth so far is very little.

"So much has been said about the rise and value of citizen participation but take a look at mainstream news organisations' output and you'll find a bit where people offer their views right on the fringes of the website or on a show at the dead end of the schedule.

"Our job, presently, is to offer authoritative, impartial coverage of news events - and we won't err from that, but what is the point if, in the long term, viewers drift away because news feels disconnected from the way they are consuming and exchanging information?

"Aside from the editorial value, there is clear commercial argument for connecting with them. These are engaged motivated individuals in a market where we repeatedly talk about all those disengaged and disenfranchised viewers who are going elsewhere for their news. Those same people are finding a sense of interactivity, relationship and community elsewhere."

She deflected suggestion that Uploaded was simply Vox Pop by another name, saying that viewers were making an active choice to contribute, rather than just being accosted in the street by reporters.

"Other genres have adapted to ensure their programmes have a dialogue with the viewers. So why has mainstream TV news remained a monologue, one-way traffic, in a two-way street?" she added.

"We have been operating in a vacuum, we decide what people should care about, the angles to take, and too often find ourselves second guessing the public mood. Uploaded will offer connectivity and modernity to our output."

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