Andrew Marr's diatribe at the Cheltenham Literature Festival:
Most citizen journalism strikes me as nothing to do with journalism at all.
A lot of bloggers seem to be socially inadequate, pimpled, single, slightly seedy, bald, cauliflower-nosed, young men sitting in their mother's basements and ranting. They are very angry people.
OK – the country is full of very angry people. Many of us are angry people at times. Some of us are angry and drunk. But the so-called citizen journalism is the spewings and rantings of very drunk people late at night.
It is fantastic at times but it is not going to replace journalism…
Most of the blogging is too angry and too abusive. It is vituperative. Terrible things are said on line because they are anonymous. People say things on line that they wouldn't dream of saying in person.
Ouch! Talk about missing the point… scarily one-sided!
all media as we know it today will become social, and feature a social component to one extent or another. [...]
But more importantly, these social tools are inspiring readers to become citizen journalists by enabling them to easily publish and share information on a greater scale. The future journalist will be more embedded with the community than ever, and news outlets will build their newsrooms to focus on utilizing the community and enabling its members to be enrolled as correspondents. Bloggers will no longer be just bloggers, but be relied upon as more credible sources.
Excellent overview of:
- Collaborative Reporting
- Journalists as Community Managers
- The Social Beat
- Social Stories
- Online Curation for a “Time-Poor Audience”
- The Social Network as the New Editor
- Beyond Twitter & Facebook
- Monetizing Social
- A Social Newsroom and the Personal Brand
- A Mobile Social Experience
On Friday, I broke a tasty story about a woman suing Google, claiming bad directions caused her to get hit by a vehicle. Today, I discover our story is everywhere, often with no attribution. Come along and watch how the mainstream media, which often claims bloggers rip it off, does a little stealing of its own.
The good news for the professional news industry is that the researchers found citizen journalism websites (news and blog sites) are presently not viable substitutes for daily newspaper sites. Only 25 % of the amateur sites published on a daily basis. Even if they do have daily postings, they tended to have significantly fewer news items, which the study attributes to the inherent budgetary constraints of most models of citizen journalism that have surfaced thus far.
The Bay Citizen (formerly the Bay Area News Project) launches today, aiming to "enhance quality civic and community news coverage" in the Bay Area, in partnership with the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. The nonprofit project was founded in September 2009 with $5million in funding from the Hellman Family Foundation and additional support from the Knight Foundation, the San Francisco Foundation, and others.
The site promises "original multimedia news and information about the Bay Area" distributed using "cool technology" that allows readers to share news, have conversations, and "truly be a part of the community." Readers are invited to donate.
PAX is only a draft concept but it hopes to tap into the crowd-sourcing and networking potential of the Internet bringing together the vast amounts of data and expertise out there. This would be combined with grass-roots – perhaps mobile-based – instant reporting on developing situations. A team would aggregate this content in an informed way and use it to persuade/encourage people in power to act and act quickly before the potential crisis becomes a real, happening disaster.
Of course there are people who already do some of these things. The news organisations such as Reuters, AP and BBC all have extensive networks that report continuously on these issues. Specialist NGOs such as the excellent International Alert seek to predict crises. Others such as Global Voices, Ushahid and Demotix seek to harness citizen reporting power.
But none of them quite do what PAX wants to do. That is, to focus on pre-reactive, real-time intelligence gathering and then advocacy action.
“On the first day of the Fifth Annual Al Jazeera Forum yesterday, Wadah Khanfar, Director General of the network, announced ‘The Al Jazeera Initiative for Internet Freedom’, outlining four plans to provide information to the widest possible audience while promoting high standards in online journalism. … As part of the initiative, Khanfar also announced a programme aimed at supporting the rights of online journalists, bloggers, and other individuals who write and report online. ‘There are too many cases of bloggers being persecuted for telling the truth or for voicing their opinions,’ said Khanfar. … The programme will be part of the Network’s Public Liberties and Human Rights Desk and will allow individuals who have faced difficulties to bring their case to the attention of Al Jazeera. The Network will run the stories as part of Al Jazeera’s television broadcast.”
"Does it means public input in news should be kept at bay? Certainly not. Quite the contrary, actually. Newsrooms have a challenge on their hands, they need to get better at handling such input.
But, to thrive, journalism requires more than a checkbook. It has to be built around a set of cultural traits that are in total contradiction to the engineering efficiencies of a search engine or an internet portal. Evidently, the modern news business requires more technology; and journalists needs the dialectics from their public. But news requires more professionalism than mere crowd-powered demagoguery. Today and, I believe, for as long as trust is to be part of the relationship with readers."