News agencies get a lot of help from the public when it comes to covering the news. News organizations such as CNN have entire sections dedicated to user-submitted news stories and videos. When a story breaks, you often see news agencies calling for local footage from cell phones and video cameras to aid in their reports. Selling these videos to news agencies can be a difficult task, especially because so many people are willing to contribute the footage free. However, if your video footage is unique and groundbreaking, such as capturing a close-up view of a volcano eruption or a celebrity in unusual and embarrassing circumstances, you might be able to sell the video to news agencies.
Give the video some credibility. If your video is unbelievable in nature, or lends itself to image manipulation, get some witnesses to back up the legitimacy of your footage. For example, if you capture clear footage of an alien spaceship landing over your town, get someone reputable, such as the head of police or the mayor of the town, to back you up as a witness. Also get video experts to certify that the video has not been tampered or altered. Contact your local police station to establish the credibility of your video. Make several copies and keep the extra copies in a safe.
Contact local news agencies. Start with local news agencies and work your way up to the national stage. Local news agencies may already be familiar with the story, so they will be more receptive to your video. To seek monetary compensation, your video must be absolutely groundbreaking and unique. It also helps if the video has good quality such as high definition and clear sound. Find the news tip hot line for your local news agencies online or on TV. Mention your witnesses to establish credibility. You can contact the video section of The Associated Press at 1-800-AP-CALL1.
Send a sample. Since you're seeking monetary compensation, you will need to send a sample that shows you have good quality and worthy footage. Only send enough to spike the interest of the news agencies, and do not include the main part of the footage. This allows you to negotiate a price for the video. Also approach tabloid news agencies if you have a celebrity video that's unique and unusual.
Negotiate terms. If you wish to keep the rights to the video, make that clear from the beginning. It is unlikely that a news agency will make a purchase and still let you keep the rights. Seek help from an attorney to negotiate fair terms with the new agencies.