What kind of material is available?

Contributors can file any news content that radio stations may want to buy and use, including dispatches, packages and actuality. Uganda Radio Network will currently only accept English-language reports, and has set the following standards, to which most radio stations adhere:

  • 30 second story
  • 1 minute dispatch
  • 1.30 minute dispatch
  • 1.30 minute feature/package
  • 2-4 minute feature/package
  • Independent Cuts/Clips (5 seconds – 20 seconds)
  • Complete interview (regardless of length)
  • Bespoke features/packages
  • Sourced 2-ways

We recommend contributors file as much content, in different formats, as possible. Different radio stations around the world are likely to want to buy content in different formats. If a contributor records a newsworthy event, he or she can use clips of the actuality in a package as well as providing the actuality by itself. Contributors who also work in print journalism and record interviews and events could use that actuality to create a radio package, or simply upload and sell the actuality, or both.

Is there a required format for items or does a contributor file material on spec?

A contributor files material on spec and decides the nature and format of the story: Uganda Radio Network is based on the freelance model. The only formatting requirement is a name and location outcue, guarding moral rights. A contributor may decide to file both a 30-second story and a 4-minute feature on the same subject, using the same material. Whether, and how much, radio stations download material depends on its newsworthiness and quality, and on the news judgements of the editors. On occasion, and if contributors have previously agreed, Uganda Radio Network may contact suggest or commission a stories.

How is material edited?

Uganda Radio Network does not edit contributors’ material. Radio stations will read and hear exactly what is filed to the site. When a story is filed to Uganda Radio Network, an editor will check it for audio quality, content and style, and to ensure it matches the transcript before posting it for sale and download. If the audio quality of the story is poor, or if there are concerns over content or style, a Uganda Radio Network representative will contact the contributor to discuss possible changes. The purchasing station is the radio station that is responsible for checking that the material will not breach the laws or otherwise give rise to liability in the country in which it is to be broadcast.

When a radio station buys an item, is it for a one-time play or several plays? Is there a sliding payment scale for the importance of a story? Is there additional payment for re-runs? Is there additional payment for national airplay?

A radio station is given permission to use the audio it downloads as often as it wishes for one month from the date of download. Material is provided to stations for a one-time flat fee. Contributors will not be paid less and stations will not be charged less – for a smaller story, nor will there be larger payment and fees for a bigger story. If a story breaks important news, a contributor can be confident a large number of stations will download it, creating more revenue.

Who holds the rights to the audio material?

The contributor holds the rights to the material filed. Uganda Radio Network does not edit or in any way alter it. It is the reporter’s and each purchasing radio station’s responsibility to ensure prior to broadcast the material is accurate and non-libellous.

Can a contributor sell material more than once?

Yes. If a contributor is working freelance, he or she can sell the material as many times, to as many companies and regions as desired. Copyright law varies from country to country, but as a general rule, copyright is conferred immediately upon creation of a work and it can only be conferred to another party in writing. Work created in the course of employment for another company or individual is usually owned by that employer.

Moral rights

Moral rights are the rights of a creator of a piece to be identified as such, and that the work should not be edited, altered, displayed or broadcast in a manner that is detrimental to the original meaning of the piece, or to the creator’s reputation. Uganda Radio Network works to uphold moral rights.

What about stringers and sponsored stringers?

A sponsored stringer is a reporter who, while not a contracted staff member, is paid a retainer to report first and foremost to a certain station or group, when asked. This does not usually mean the stringer is prohibited from filing to other stations also, but it may mean there are certain competing stations the reporter is prohibited from filing to. If a contributor tells us which stations he would like to exclude from accessing his material, we can build this information into the account.

Uganda Radio Network Ltd. will not ask or coerce contributors to breach copyright or to break existing contracts or agreements, nor will it knowingly be party to a contributor attempting to do so.

For questions on copyright and related issues, we have a list of links and reading material we can send you. We also suggest you contact our partners at the International Federation of Journalists, the world’s largest organisation of journalists body.

What you need – Contributors

To file stories to Uganda Radio Network, you will need a PC with an Internet connection, a microphone and a recording device (tape, minidisk, DAT etc). We recommend you use Internet Explorer 4 and above or Netscape Navigator 4 above browsers to access the site.

What you need – Radio Stations

All you need is a PC or Mac with Internet and a connection to a digital news desk to which you can transfer the file. We recommend you use a modern browser to access the site.

Creating stories

If you’re creating a package, you will need both your microphone and your recording device (tape, minidisk, DAT etc) plugged into your computer. With so many different makes of PC, different inputs, outputs, recording devices and microphones, we can’t offer advice on how you might set up your particular recording system. If in doubt, we suggest you contact your PC service point.

A note on digital audio

Uganda Radio Network will only accept .wav and .mp3 files as these are the most commonly-used file formats for digital audio. When a contributor uploads a file, the website recognises its format and automatically converts the file into the alternative to offer stations the choice between the two technologies.

As a rule of thumb, converting a .wav file into a good-quality .mp3 will create a file about one tenth the size, which helps explain some of the popularity of the .mp3 format.

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