"Almost all your contributors will have some kind of online footprint," Mark Jones, the global community editor of Reuters, told the participants of a blogging conference on Monday morning .

This 'footprint' could be used to verify the agenda and background of the contributors of user-generated content (UGC), said Jones.

"We have some fairly well-established instincts now," Jones said in the opening panel for the Voices Online event.

"[We're] looking at their blog, their Twitter. This is one overlooked benefit of social media."

In a panel discussing state of the art technology, Jones and fellow panellists discussed questions arising from using UGC.

Turi Munthe, founder and CEO of Demotix, the citizen media website, described how the doctoring of Reuters' photographs from Lebanon in 2006 was brought to light because 'bloggers started getting involved in the process'.

Jones said Reuters treats all citizen contributions as freelance content and, if it is suitable for syndication, the organisation agrees deals with photographers before releasing material.

"We [Reuters] pre-moderate everything - we are very conservative in that respect," he said. The 'experienced' picture editor looks at everything, he added.

Munthe, however, said Demotix is far less conservative and is focused on making a 'concerted effort' to push the onus of responsibility back onto the users.

It is the responsibility of fellow users to highlight issues and help with verification of material, he said.

Follow @journalism_live for updates from the Voices Online Blogging conference 2009. More news and blog posts to follow.

Free daily newsletter

If you like our news and feature articles, you can sign up to receive our free daily (Mon-Fri) email newsletter (mobile friendly).