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Citizen Journalism “Citizen Journalism” Defined Blogs “News” sites written by non-journalists Hybrid mainstream-citizen (Photo albums, eyewitness reports filed to mainstream news org) Why Citizens Are Publishing Improvements in tools to create web content Easy to use blogging software Digital cameras, recorders Disenchantment with mainstream media, aka, “MSM” Publishing Tools: From this… In the beginning: Hand-coding HTML Publishing Tools … to this Easier: Graphical interface Publishing Tools…to This: Blogging: Rapid-fire publishing Elements of Citizen Journalism Blogs – mostly opinion, links to related info, other blogs Primarily a one-person operation Activist – no pretense of objectivity Personal The Movement Dan Gilmore – major proponent of citizen journalism (former SJ Mercury News columnist) “Grassroots journalists are dismantling Big Media's monopoly on the news, transforming it from a lecture to a conversation.” The Critics It’s not journalism – very, very little original reporting It lacks editorial process – no professional “filtering” No standards The Fans It’s not journalism – Good! We want something different It lacks editorial process – Good! Forget your filters. I’ll decide what’s news. No standards? – Participants will police each other and correct errors. Are Bloggers Journalists? 2005: Judith Miller/NYT case Congress debated a shield law that would protect journalists from revealing sources. Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.): Bloggers would probably not be protected that law. Puts legal context into the debate. Will some blogs be deemed protected, others not? Content Analysis Center for Excellence in Journalism Analysis, 2006 Current State of Blogging Center for Excellence in Journalism Study: Blogs showed tremendous growth in 2004, spurred by the presidential election Growth has slowed. Audience has flat-lined State of Blogging Feb. 2004 – Jan. 2005 Number of people reading blogs jumped from 17% to 27% Grew from 32 million to 37 million Now stable. “Explosion … appears over.” Blogs: Overrated? Small audience Gallup/CNN/USAToday poll: Only 26% of internet users “very familiar” or “somewhat familiar” with blogs. Opposing view: It’s a small audience who are big influencers Impact of Blogs on MSM Publishing their own staff-written blogs Adding citizen journalism tools to their sites One study showed that journalists are among the most avid readers of blogs Election 2006 CNN on bloggers Fox on bloggers Impact of MSM on Blogs The Great Debate: Selling Out? MSM hiring bloggers Andrew Sullivan’s popular blog moves under time.com. Advertisers showing interest Some blogs dependent on MSM for links Why the Fuss? Bloggers occasionally break news: 2002: Trent Lott makes comments offensive to African Americans. Andrew Sullivan and TalkingPoints Memo latched on. NY Times and Washington Post finally covered. Blogs Break News 2004: Dan Rather, CBS News False story on Bush and National Guard Bloggers raised suspicions about documents posted on CBS news web site, calling them fraudulent. Other Citizen Journalism Efforts WikiNews – written and edited by anybody interested. New West – founders launched to fill void in coverage in Rocky Mountain area YourHub – Rocky Mountain News “participatory journalism” site. Future: Still being written Feb. 2005: Allen Weiner, former reporter/columnist San Diego: 1. Newspapers will to tap into citizens as extensions of their local coverage. 2. Newspapers will develop systems to allow individuals to develop and publish content for the newspaper. 3. Citizen journalists websites will emerge solely built on the talent of local writers, photographers, videobloggers and podcasters.
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