Citizen Journalism

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Pivoting off Jay Rosen's definition of citizen journalism, this presentation draws on Steve Outing's "11 Layers of Citizen Journalism" to illustrate some of the key features of this form of newswork.

Citizen Journalism

  1. 1. Citizen Journalism and its Future J 349T Writing for Online Publication Instructor: Seth C. Lewis [email_address]
  2. 2. Part I: A most useful definition Jay Rosen, 2008
  3. 3. <ul><li>“ When the people formerly known as the audience employ the press tools they have in their possession to inform one another, that’s citizen journalism.” </li></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>“ When the people formerly known as the audience employ the press tools they have in their possession to inform one another, that’s citizen journalism.” </li></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>“ When the people formerly known as the audience employ the press tools they have in their possession to inform one another, that’s citizen journalism.” </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>“ When the people formerly known as the audience employ the press tools they have in their possession to inform one another, that’s citizen journalism.” </li></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>“ When the people formerly known as the audience employ the press tools they have in their possession to inform one another , that’s citizen journalism.” </li></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>“ When the people formerly known as the audience employ the press tools they have in their possession to inform one another, that’s citizen journalism .” </li></ul>
  9. 9. Some key features of citizen-J <ul><li>Absence of a “middle man” in doing news </li></ul><ul><li>Interpersonal form of newsflow (a “ person talking ,” like a blog) </li></ul><ul><li>The act of citizens “playing an active role in the process of collecting, reporting, analyzing and disseminating news and information” ( Bowman and Willis ) </li></ul>
  10. 10. Part II: Doing citizen journalism
  11. 11. How does this work in practice? <ul><li>You write about a city council meeting on your blog </li></ul><ul><li>Capture eyewitness moment with your digital camera and post to a news site </li></ul><ul><li>Grab video of something newsy and post to YouTube </li></ul><ul><li>In other words … </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Create , augment , or fact-check media on their own or in collaboration with others </li></ul></ul>
  12. 13. How online news sites use citizen-J Pros in charge Amateur control Opening up to comments Add-on reporter Citizen bloghouse Stand-alone citizen site; minimal editing Hybrid: pro + citizen Wiki-style
  13. 14. 11 Layers of Citizen Journalism Pros in charge Amateur control Opening up to comments Add-on reporter Citizen bloghouse Stand-alone citizen site; minimal editing Hybrid: pro + citizen Wiki-style
  14. 15. Layer 1: Opening up to comment <ul><li>Letting readers comment on news site </li></ul><ul><li>Most basic form of participation </li></ul><ul><li>Only comments on stories? … </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Why not classifieds, obituaries, letters to editor? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>But, how do you handle the toxic stuff? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Require users to register (name/e-mail) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Moderation a virtue? ” </li></ul></ul>
  15. 17. Layer 2: Citizen add-on reporter <ul><li>Solicit info/experiences from community </li></ul><ul><li>Example </li></ul><ul><ul><li>say there’s an issue piece on car thefts; “tell us your own experience”; submit photos, etc. </li></ul></ul>
  16. 18. Layer 3: Open-source reporting <ul><li>Collaboration between pro journalist and readers on a story </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ expert readers” add knowledge, ask questions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sometimes even do actual reporting </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Examples </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ We’re doing an interview with X; what do you want us to ask?” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Circulate a draft version of report to bloggers, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Highlight reader tips in pop-up boxes online? </li></ul></ul>
  17. 20. Layer 4: Citizen bloghouse <ul><li>Invite anyone to blog on your site </li></ul><ul><li>… or invite selected people to blog </li></ul><ul><li>Aggregate local blogs (like Greensboro101 ) </li></ul><ul><li>Examples </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Austin American-Statesman’s reader blogs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bluffton Today’s community blogs </li></ul></ul>
  18. 22. Layer 5: ‘Transparency’ blogs <ul><li>Invite panel of readers to critique your work </li></ul><ul><li>Think of it as “citizen ombudsmen” </li></ul><ul><li>Milder form: the editor’s blog pulling back the curtaining on the newsroom </li></ul>
  19. 24. Layer 6: Stand-alone citizen site <ul><li>Now we’re really getting serious … </li></ul><ul><li>Users submit whatever they want </li></ul><ul><li>Think lots of submitted photos </li></ul><ul><li>Editors’ job? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ensure minimum level of quality (line-editing) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Modest monitoring of content </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Essence: citizens’ more or less “own” the site </li></ul>
  20. 27. Layer 7: Citizen site … unedited <ul><li>Costs less, and fits better in the spirit of citizen journalism </li></ul><ul><li>On safer legal ground? </li></ul><ul><li>Regulate content through “report misconduct” buttons? </li></ul><ul><li>Not a lot of success stories so far? </li></ul>
  21. 28. Layer 8: Add a print edition <ul><li>Cull the best submitted content for print </li></ul><ul><li>Keep editing to bare minimum </li></ul><ul><li>Lend credibility and visibility to citizen site </li></ul><ul><li>Primary source of revenue </li></ul><ul><li>… But, is something lost here? </li></ul><ul><li>Examples: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>YourHub </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Northwest Voice </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Bluffton Today </li></ul></ul></ul>
  22. 29. Layer 9: Pro + citizen hybrid
  23. 30. Layer 10: pro + am under one roof <ul><li>Only nice in theory? … </li></ul>
  24. 31. Layer 11: wiki journalism
  25. 32. 90-9-1 Principle
  26. 33. Or, Jay Rosen’s 1% doctrine <ul><li>Of citizen-generated news … </li></ul><ul><ul><li>1% is high quality </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>10% is … well, OK </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The rest is garbage </li></ul></ul>

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