KCB201 Week 10 Slidecast: Citizen Journalism
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KCB201 Week 10 Slidecast: Citizen Journalism

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Week 10 Slidecast for KCB201 Virtual Cultures in the Creative Industries Faculty at Queensland University of Technology, semester 1/2008.

Week 10 Slidecast for KCB201 Virtual Cultures in the Creative Industries Faculty at Queensland University of Technology, semester 1/2008.

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  • 1. Citizen Journalism Dr Axel Bruns KCB201 Virtual Cultures [email_address]
  • 2. 1999 “Battle of Seattle”
    • Emergence of Indymedia :
      • World Trade Organisation meeting in Seattle, 1999
      • large ‘alternative globalisation’ protests by broad coalition of activists
      • fear that mainstream media (MSM) would focus only on riots and unrest
      • development of DIY journalism projects – “become the media”
      • established as Independent Media Center (IMC, Indymedia )
      • based on software built for activist group in Sydney
      • key features:
        • DIY media content: stories, images, video sourced from activists
        • open publishing: all stories made available immediately
        • public discussion: strong role for comments, adding further information
  • 3. Citizen Journalism
    • Part of a longer trend:
      • hand-printed and photocopied pamphlets and newsletters
      • as old as the printing press itself
      • but boosted by simplicity and reach of online publishing
    • Emergence of key citizen journalism sites:
      • Indymedia – political activism, alternative globalisation
      • Slashdot – technology news, privacy, governance, legal issues
      • Kuro5hin , Plastic – politics and Zeitgeist
      • OhmyNews – South Korean politics, now also International and Japan
      • Wikipedia and Wikinews – general news (but problems with the latter)
      • Current.tv – video news and documentaries
      • news blogs – more or less consistent news coverage and discussion
  • 4. Produsing the News?
    • Traditional news process: gatekeeping
    • (from Bruns, Gatewatching: Collaborative Online News Production , 2005)
  • 5. Gatewatching
    • Citizen journalism news process: gatewatching
      • content generated by ‘average’ users, not professional journalists and editors
      • CJs watching the output gates of news publications and other sources, in order to identify important material as it becomes available
      • limited editorial oversight:
        • very basic checking of stories (e.g. Slashdot ), or
        • immediate posting for commentary, rating, and voting by wider community
      • repurposing, recombining, recontextualising, reinterpreting mainstream news
      • discussing, debating, deliberating on the news
      • continuous update of stories after publication – through comments or revisions
      • collaborative content creation model, harnessing community knowledge
      • providing multiperspectival insight and commentary
      • acting as a corrective to the mainstream
  • 6. News Produsage
    • Gatewatcher news process
    • (adapted from Bruns, Gatewatching: Collaborative Online News Production , 2005)
    • Variations on the process are possible
  • 7. Open Source Journalism
    • Strong similarities between citizen journalism and open source:
      • opening out production process to all participants
      • belief that cream will rise to the top – through ‘power of eyeballs’
      • reconceptualisation and acceptance of content as always unfinished, constantly updated
      • application of alternative licencing schemes to enable flexible update and distribution of products
    • But need for effective systems and methodologies:
      • Indymedia problem: lack of open editing tools to enable collaborative quality control
      • Wikinews problem: failure to offer space for debate and deliberation to facilitate the development and update of stories
  • 8. Citizen Journalism as Produsage
    • Citizen journalism, open source, and others are examples of produsage :
      • Open Participation, Communal Evaluation – the community as a whole, if sufficiently large and varied, can contribute more than a closed team of producers, however qualified
      • Fluid Heterarchy, Ad Hoc Meritocracy – produsers participate as is appropriate to their personal skills, interests, and knowledges; this changes as the produsage project proceeds
      • Unfinished Artefacts, Continuing Process – content artefacts in produsage projects are continually under development, and therefore always unfinished; their development follows evolutionary, iterative, palimpsestic paths
      • Common Property, Individual Rewards – contributors permit (non-commercial) community use and adaptation of their intellectual property, and are rewarded by the status capital gained through this process
  • 9. Futures for Citizen Journalism
    • Where to from here?
      • variety of very well established news produsage models
        • from Slashdot to OhmyNews
        • further opportunities in using wiki-based systems
        • increasing potential for audiovisual news – Current.tv etc.
      • long-term economic sustainability remains a significant question
        • how do news produsage sites meet their running costs?
        • how do individuals become self-supporting news produsers?
        • where does original content come from?