Cell phones increasingly used to snap the news

Twice in one month the biggest Dutch newspaper published front-page pictures shot by amateur photographers using their mobile phones, signaling a new trend in newsgathering.

The De Telegraaf daily newspaper, with a circulation of close to 800,000, recently published a picture of the dead filmmaker and columnist Theo van Gogh, who police say was probably killed by an Islamic militant.

Passerby Aron Boskma took a picture with his cell phone at the scene of the crime in Amsterdam. News photographers arrived only after the body had been covered, leaving Boskma’s picture the exclusive image showing knives plunged into Van Gogh’s body.

Nordic newspapers have also published photographs taken with mobile phones with built-in cameras. In Sweden, a ferry collision filmed with a cell phone was shown on national TV last year. Last month, Dutch newspapers published photographs shot with a cell phone from a police shoot-out in the town of Enschede, made available to Dutch news agency ANP.

ANP receives camera phone pictures through a collaboration with Internet news Web site Nu.nl, which offers money and prizes to amateur photographers who send in pictures.

In Japan, where many consumers own a camera-equipped cell phone, it has become common to sell pictures to television stations and other media outlets.

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