Screenshot of Gazeta Wyborcza
Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza is following up the success of its 'photography school' with online tutorials in shooting video for readers.

The 'photography school of masters', which ran for eight weeks from July 18 and featured online lessons from staff photographers, resulted in more than 141,000 photos being submitted by around 25,000 readers.

Readers were given homework assignments and asked to post images to the Gazeta site or to photo-sharing site, where other readers and students of the 'school' could leave comments.

A similar programme is in place for the video school, which will be led by Polish cinematographer  Slawomir Idziak, the editor of the Gazeta, Grzegorz Piechota, told

"It is something completely new for us. Of course, we have video reporters at Gazeta and they produce online news shows, the company runs a video-sharing website, but we - the print guys - have never tried it before," he said.

Participating readers will again be asked to contribute their content and compete for a €3,000 prize, to be awarded at a film festival showing the school's videos.

Photography students were similarly rewarded - the best submissions were chosen by staff for re-production in the print edition.

Adding a competitive edge to the projects has reinforced the 'professionalism and authority' of the Gazeta brand and is more than just a drive for user-generated content, said Piechota.

The school, which is being run in partnership with Polish commercial TV broadcaster TVN and its sister news channel, will also encourage readers to use their mobile phones to capture video.

"These cameras are not sophisticated, but Mr Idziak is sure one can achieve great results with it because the mobile is much more intimate than a traditional camera. You can, and you have to, get closer to the object you want to shoot."

The paper has previously asked readers to help investigate care standards in Poland, take part in a multimedia campaign to save the Rospuda Valley and create a multimedia feature of 24 hours in Poland.

The photography and video schools are part of a collaborative future for the Gazeta, Piechota explained, and a means of bringing younger readers into contact with the paper - most of the photographic contributors were under 30 years old.

"Asking readers to get involved was natural: we always design our editorial projects in a way that engages readers. The thinking is: if it is interesting for us, it may be interesting for others. Everybody has a camera now and just a few are photography masters," he said.

"The success of the school of photography masters at Gazeta shows that these young people really care about an authority and standards that the newspaper and its professionals provide."

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