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

Published in: Education, News & Politics
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  • 1. 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 /
  • 2. 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
  • 3. 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
  • 4. 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)
  • 5.  
  • 6.  
  • 7. 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
  • 8. Youdecide2007 Age Profile —— Inner Metro —— Outer Metro —— Provincial —— Rural
  • 9. Youdecide2007 Article Hits
  • 10. Youdecide2007 Commenting Patterns
  • 11. Youdecide2007 Commenting Patterns
  • 12. 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
  • 13. 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

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