Preditors Making Citizen Journalism Work Andre Teh 3214474
INTRODUCTION “Independent online initiatives and established news organizations have successfully experimented with user-generated content, but layers of professional supervision and coordination are often hidden from view in key debates.” - Wilson, Saunders and Bruns
CROWDSOURCING “The idea that a crowd of people, geographically dispersed but sharing common purpose, can achieve things better or differently to small groups of professionals and gatekeepers.” - Margaret Simons “Technological advances in everything from product design software to digital video cameras are breaking down the cost barriers that once separated amateurs from professionals. Hobbyists, part-timers, and dabblers suddenly have a market for their efforts, as smart companies in industries as disparate as pharmaceuticals and television discover ways to tap the latent talent of the crowd. The labor isn’t always free, but it costs a lot less than paying traditional employees. It’s not outsourcing; it’s crowdsourcing.” - Jeff Howe
“SEMI-PRO” JOURNALISM “[combines] the ground work of average citizens or inexperienced journalists with editorial and production expertise of professional journalists.” - Mark Glaser
SUPER-CONTRIBUTORS “Crowdsourcing projects are generally characterized as being the product of a few super-contributors and a mass of people who contribute some minor bits. I've heard this called the "dirty little secret of open source," the fact that most of the heavy lifting is done, not by the crowd per se, but by a few select individuals from within the crowd. I'd like to posit another rule: Any crowdsourcing project must install one go-to guy (or girl) who will thanklessly toil day and night to keep the project on the rails.” - Jeff Howe
PREDITORS “…new media employees who perform both production and editorial roles. [This is] an emblem of the shift toward media industries as content producing and organizing rather than the production of new and original cultural works.” -Nicholas Carah
PREDITOR’S DUTIES Writing and editing copy Be aware of publishing law and regulation Be committed to news value and etichal standards Possess technological literacy Establish collaborative interpersonal and professional relationships and webs of content syndication across the online news environment Serve, guide and manage the content-making community
4 DIMENSIONS TO ROLE Content work Networking Community work Technical work
CONTENT WORK “…preditors are focused on boosting a service that exists to draw in and sustain a pro-am newsmaking community.”
Wilson, Saunders and Bruns
1) Editorial supervision of citizen journalists’ contributions
Accuracy and clarity of expression
CONTENT WORK (CONT.) Generating “seed content”
“pro” content can draw a readership in search of “industry-standard” news stories.
That audience might then be drawn further into the site to read citizen stories, or even to sign up as contributors.
Interview with Peter Lindsay, MP for Herbert:
NETWORKING Existing contacts can be tapped for content, participation, or simply to spread the word about a service. If the mainstream media can help citizen journalism services survive and prosper, rather than viewing them with suspicion, it is incumbent on the preditor to make and cultivate contacts among professional journalists and political operatives. Content, too, may be repurposed and re-used across platforms to raise the visibility of citizen journalism services (Cross-media opportunities).
COMMUNITY WORK Users do not bring equal levels of skill, experience or (unfortunately) goodwill to citizen journalism services. As a result communities or individual users need educators and honest brokers. Preditors need to provide their community with (i) training, (ii) site-specific information and (iii) mediation. Preditors also need to make special efforts with the community’s “super-contributors”
TECHNICAL WORK Generalising from this experience, we can divide technical work into: on-site technical work off-site technical work “meta-tech” work.
DISCUSSIONS & CONCLUSIONS Some of the preditors’ responsibilities overlap with the more traditional professional role of journalists and those with some training or experience in journalism may be best placed to carry them out. Collaborative, rather than competitive relationships A realisation that journalistic work is now inextricably tied in with digital content production and requires evolving wide-ranging technological literacies, might also be a focus of ongoing development. While Web 2.0 debates often efface the role of facilitating amateur content, “go-to” people are essential and enterprises need to plan adequately for this work to be carried out. In an era when users are gaining a more active voice in news production, it is equally important that the labour that underpins user-generated content is recognised, as we try to understand the changing landscape of cultural production.
WHAT IS CROWDSOURCING? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Buyub6vIG3Q
BIBLIOGRAPHY Carah, Nicholas 2007, Three and a half ideas from the International Communications Association 2007 Conference, Critical Communications Group, University of Queensland, Brisbane. Howe, Jeff 2006, The Rise of Crowdsourcing, Wired, accessed 25 August 2010, <http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/14.06/crowds.html> Simons, Margaret 2008, Journalism: The limitations of the crowd, Creative Economy. 15 February 2008. 16 Mar. 2008. <http://www.creative.org.au/webboard/results.chtml?filename_num=195592> what-is-crowdsourcing.com 2010, What is Crowdsourcing?, Youtube, accessed 25 August 2010, <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Buyub6vIG3Q> Wilson, J 2007, Interview with Peter Lindsay MP (LP, Herbert), Youtube, accessed 25 August 2010, <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iWBIwMhHmKs> Wilson, JA, Saunders, BJ and Bruns, A 2009, “Preditors”: making citizen journalism work’ in J Gordon (ed) Notions of community: a collection of community media debates and dilemmas, New York: Peter Lang Publishing Group, pp. 245-270