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.

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KCB201 Week 10 Slidecast: Citizen Journalism

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