“Citizen Journalism” Defined
“News” sites written by non-journalists
(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,
Publishing Tools: From this…
Publishing Tools … to this
Publishing Tools…to This:
Elements of Citizen Journalism
Blogs – mostly opinion, links to related
info, other blogs
Primarily a one-person operation
Activist – no pretense of objectivity
Dan Gilmore – major proponent of citizen
journalism (former SJ Mercury News
“Grassroots journalists are dismantling Big
Media's monopoly on the news, transforming
it from a lecture to a conversation.”
It’s not journalism – very, very little
It lacks editorial process – no
It’s not journalism – Good! We want
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?
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.”
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
One study showed that journalists are
among the most avid readers of blogs
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
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
NY Times and Washington Post finally
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
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
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.