A pair of contributors to CNN's iReport citizen journalist project have parlayed the non-paying gig into bigger things.
Abbey Niezgoda recently accepted a position as a reporter with ABC 6 in Providence, Rhode Island. Niezgoda, an Emerson College graduate, filed 13 iReports from Boston ranging from the regional barista championships to the Santa Speedo race.
James Brierton, currently a sophomore at the University of Georgia, landed the 2011 John Holliman Broadcast News Scholarship, which honors a UGA journalism student who exhibits a "passion and commitment to broadcast journalism." Brierton, a former CNN intern, has filed 79 iReports, many of them about the weather.
CNN launched iReport in 2006 as a way to involve citizens in the newsgathering process. These citizen journalists are not paid but some are featured on CNN, which also recently launched awards to honor these free contributions.
The news of these two reporters being picked from the pack of thousands is a another example in the ongoing debate of when it might pay for aspiring journalists to work for free.
The Newspaper Guild recently made a plea to unpaid Huffington Post bloggers to strike in hopes of getting the website to pay writers.