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Building Spaces for Hyperlocal Citizen Journalism (AoIR 2008)
 

Building Spaces for Hyperlocal Citizen Journalism (AoIR 2008)

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Paper presented at the Association of Internet Researchers conference (Copenhagen, 15-19 Oct. 2008)

Paper presented at the Association of Internet Researchers conference (Copenhagen, 15-19 Oct. 2008)

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    Building Spaces for Hyperlocal Citizen Journalism (AoIR 2008) Building Spaces for Hyperlocal Citizen Journalism (AoIR 2008) Presentation Transcript

    • Building Spaces for Hyperlocal Citizen Journalism Dr Axel Bruns, Dr Jason Wilson, Barry Saunders Media & Communication Creative Industries Faculty Queensland University of Technology Brisbane, Australia a.bruns / j5.wilson / b.saunders @ qut.edu.au http:// gatewatching.org /
    • Citizen Journalism Challenges
      • Common themes:
        • “ Estate 4.5” (Jane Singer)
          • a watchdog for the watchdogs – gatewatching, not gatekeeping
          • but: limited in its effects, despite well-known successes
        • deliberative journalism
          • greater role for commenting and discussion
          • but: fragmented, inconclusive, easily distracted
        • hyperlocal coverage
          • covering themes and places ignored by the mainstream
          • but: interest horizon limits comprehensive coverage
          •  can be addressed through Pro-Am journalism projects
    • The 2007 Australian Election
      • (Some) analogies with 2004 U.S. election:
        • substantial use of online media
          • by established parties ( YouTube clips, Kevin 07 and LaborFirst sites, …)
          • and media organisations ( ABC Online , News.com.au blogs, …)
        • news blogs and citizen journalism recognised as important
        • some persistent belligerence between citizen and industrial journalists
        • but also key differences due to political cultures (compulsory vs. voluntary voting, Westminster vs. presidential system, …)
      • Building on developed and maturing blogosphere:
        • clear structure, established opinion leaders
        • some blogs and blog-like sites commercially supported / operated
          • e.g. On Line Opinion , Crikey , Blogocracy
        • more or less clear distinction from mainstream media ‘commentariat’
        • for some, conceptually or geographically hyperlocal focus
    • Conceptual Hyperlocality
      • Psephology at Possums Pollytics and elsewhere
        • specialising in psephology (statistical analysis of election results and polling trends)
        • running commentary on polling results
        • relatively unknown before the election
        • operated pseudonymously by Possum Comitatus
        • rose to wider recognition in public stoushes with The Australian ’s election analysts (esp. Dennis Shanahan)
          • “ sheltered academics and failed journalists who would not get a job on a real newspaper”; “ we understand Newspoll because we own it” (12 July 2007)
          • “ statistical bloggers forever complain … and essentially want polls to be banished from newspapers and public debate except during an election” (21 Feb. 2008)
        • cf. Dan Gillmor: “my readers know more than I do” (2003, vi)
          • professional journalists vs. amateur journalists, but also
          • professional psephologists vs. (very) amateur psephologists
          • scientific expertise (in psephology) trumps expert craftsmanship (in journalism)
        • now regular coverage of international, national and state opinion polls
          • with The Poll Bludger , now part of Crikey ’s stable of political bloggers (since September 2008)
    •  
    •  
    • Geographical Hyperlocality
      • Politics Where It Matters: Youdecide2007
        • hyperlocal election coverage from electorates across the country
        • supported by ARC Linkage grant (QUT, National Forum, SBS, Cisco Systems, Brisbane Institute)
        • strong focus on original material (candidate interviews, vox-pops, local issues reporting)
        • some take-up in mainstream media and by political leaders
          • esp. Peter Lindsay remarks (Lib/Herbert) on young people’s “financial illiteracy”: “I remember my own case. We sat on milk crates in the lounge room until we could afford chairs. … Things were more responsible.” (Interview by Jason Wilson, 10 Sep. 2007)
        • project success limited by short lifespan – but proof of concept
        • contributor take-up especially strong in rural and regional areas and among older generations
          • unexpected for social media project
          • possibly due to poor journalistic service outside metropolitan areas
        • but also need for generation of seed content, editorial oversight
          • site staff acting as role models for citizen contributors
          • need to operate within Australian libel and copyright frameworks
          • need to respect commercial interests of industry partners
    • Youdecide2007 Age Profile —— Inner Metro —— Outer Metro —— Provincial —— Rural
    • Youdecide2007 Article Hits
    • Youdecide2007 Commenting Patterns
    • Youdecide2007 Commenting Patterns
    • Conclusions
      • Great potential for Pro-Am collaborations:
        • ‘ professional’ content attracts new audiences
        • ‘ amateur’ material encourages them to participate
        • successful projects combine the two
          • e.g. Youdecide2007 : staff and citizen material side by side
          • e.g. Possums Pollytics : hybrid Pro-Am style
          • e.g. myHeimat.de : hyperlocal CJ content used by professional news organisations
          • e.g. Huffington Post ’s “Off the Bus”, MTV’s Choose or Lose ?
      • Especially relevant for hyperlocal projects:
        • enabling individuals to make small contributions to overall project
        • aggregating individual hyperlocal contributions into topical / geographical whole
    • Further Information
      • Continued coverage of this and other projects:
        • Gatewatching.org (Wilson, Saunders, Bruns)
      • Youdecide2007.org
      • Axel Bruns:
        • snurb.info , Produsage.org
      • Jason Wilson:
        • GetUp ! Australia
      • Barry Saunders:
        • BarrySaunders.com