Former ITV News editor-in-chief David Mannion has thrown his weight behind online video startup Newsflare, which allows the public to sell video clips to broadcasters and news organisations via a smartphone app.

Newsflare can also be used as a tool by broadcasters to request video of events.

Mannion has taken on the role of non-executive director of Newsflare and has also joined the firm’s advisory board alongside ITN consulting director and principal Paul Naha-Biswas.

Mannion described user generated content as a “permanent and vital newsgathering tool for all major mainstream news organisations”.

He said: “The problem has been that accessing and verifying submissions has sometimes been a time consuming task for busy newsrooms.

“Newsflare removes the problem by providing robust verification and efficient access.”

An iPhone app, which stamps clips with a location, time and author, is available now, and an Android version is to be released by the end of the year.

Geographically-tagged assignments can be delivered via the app, allowing users of the service to notify suppliers of jobs in their area.

Publisher Northcliffe Digital has agreed a distribution deal with Newsflare to gather video for five of its regional This Is… sites.

“Video is sticky for these guys, but they don’t have the budgets to pay someone to go and capture the video.

“Newsflare allows them to cover local events in a cost effective way,” said co-founder and commercial director Bevan Thomas.