The citizen journalism route to readership by mne19546

VIEWS: 11 PAGES: 33

									   Grass Roots Journalism by Mid-Missourians



The citizen journalism route to
          readership
                Clyde H. Bentley, Ph.D.
   Associate Professor, Missouri School of Journalism
            Short circuiting the “priesthood”
              Technologists empowered Heretics

13th-14th
centuries                        20th-21st
                                 centuries



             Martin Luther

Johannes                                     Oh Yeon-ho
Gutenberg

                                 Tim
                             Berners-Lee
      The “other” side of journalism
      Information from non-professional communicators

 Bulletin boards
 Civic club presentations
 “News” releases
 Coffee klatches
 Chat rooms
 Gossip
 Blogs
       16 months with “citizens”
                   http://mymissourian.com launched Oct. 1, 2004

 A participatory
  project under “The
  Missouri Method.”
 Real-world
  challenges, real-world
  solutions
 Empowered students
  who developed
  management skills
                     Inspired by others
                              OhMyNews was well known to professors
                               and popular with our Korean students
                              Launch of Northwest Voice generated a
“”Every citizen is a
                               faculty discussion.
journalist” - Dean
Mills - Oh Yeon-Ho . Ņ we proceed with all deliberate speed? I'm in no hurry. Next week would be soon
                      Can
                      enoughÓ



    Dean Mills recognized the potential and
   asked us to move quickly.
                                                                                              “”Can we proceed with all
    Proposed in late May 2004, launched                                                      deliberate speed? I'm in no
                                                                                              hurry. Next week would be
                                                                                              soon enough” - Dean Mills
   Oct. 1.
      A challenge to tradition
 Missouri is the home of traditional newspaper
 journalism education
 Some faculty questioned the ability to maintain
  credibility
 Could we teach a journalism where “we” were
 not in control?
      So why do it?
 To give voice to those traditionally excluded
 from the media
 To allow non-journalists to help set the
  community agenda
 To test our knowledge of audience values
 To train students in a new form of journalism

                               Oh, I forgot . . .
         And to make money …
                    Newspaper Print and Online Revenues
                                      First three quarters, 2005
40000000
                               First three quarters, 2005
35000000                           $33,934,000


30000000

25000000

20000000

15000000

10000000
                                                              4.38%
5000000
                                                                      $1,373,000
             0
 Source: NAA Quarterly Newspaper
 Advertising Expenditures
                                   Print1                          Online   2
Online alone is not enough
     A hybrid strategy

 Gather content via an online citizen
 journalism product
Use that content to fill a printed TMC
 product
Use revenue gains in TMC to underwrite
 the online product

            Which led to one more BIG goal…
End Driveway Rot!
     TMC = The Money Cow

 Total Market Coverage products often
 produce a substantial portion of a
 newspaper’s budget.
 At the Missourian, our TMC is budgeted
 at about 25% of our revenue but actually
 brings in 33%.
      Depending how you count it…
         It more than adds up

“What’s deceptive is that much of the daily
                                              Dan Potter
revenue comes from the TMC agreements         Missourian GM
in a forced buy, so even more of our
revenue is the result of our TMCs.
“Also, we will do about $230,000 with the Real
  Estate This Week magazine this year. That
  would not be possible if we did not have the
  Saturday TMC for distribution purposes.”
      Back to print
 Print edition launched Oct.
  1, 2006
 Allows use of the efficient
  advertising pattern of print
 Increases readership by
  23,000 households
 Reverses the print-to-Web
  paradigm
       Compelling content is the key
       to readership
 TMC’s are often filled with old, trivial or
 syndicated material
 Lack of reader interest can cause “pickup
 failure”
 Citizen-generated material is unduplicated,
 compelling and does not compete with our own
 daily product
      Readers reach readers
     Citizen journalism succeeds where others have failed.

 “I have seen newspaper companies
  spend thousand of dollars annually to
  determine what readers expect.
  Few of their findings, however, are
  ever implemented.
 “The greatest benefit of what we
  have done with MyMissourian is we
  have given newsroom leaders an                       Hans K. Meyer
                                                      graduate student
  inexpensive and effective way to
  give readers what they truly want.”
      Is there a future for
      journalists?
 YES -- both professional and citizen journalists
 Blogs pose both a threat and an opportunity
 The power relationship in information is being
  re-negotiated
 Journalists provide continuity and quality
 control
 Story tellers become story guides
              New journalism skills
                    “As more and more news
                     organizations adopt
                     community/citizen/open-source
                     journalism ventures, they'll need to
                     learn how to run them.
Brian Hamman        “Covering stories and collecting,
graduate student
                     cultivating, sharing stories are very
                     different things. Helping others to
                     share their lives is still journalism,
                     and it needs to be taught.”
      Inviting the public to our table
 Many editors are concerned about errors,
 credibility and libel
 Some fear that citizen writing quality is low
 How do we know if those untrained people are
 lying?


   WILL WE LOSE CONTROL?
      Mix logic with understanding
 Most participants in citizen journalism have
 little reason to cheat or lie.
 The “WBC” category is primarily the realm of
 blogs.
 By and large, most Americans will conform to
 rules that are both simple and logical.
 Focus on broad concerns; keep rules simple.
        The arguments
“Decency” - How do we treat profanity and adult
  topics?
“Commercialism” - What about the promotion of a
  business, organization, religion, etc.?
“Literacy” - How much editing and rewriting should we
  do?
“Banalism” Is anything just too stupid to appear on the
  site? If so, how dumb is dumb?
       Logical solutions
“Decency” No profanity, no nudity - use normal
  newspaper standards of propriety
“Commercialism” Don’t ban businesses that self-
  promote, but work with them to produce copy of
  general interest.
“Literacy” Keep editing to a minimum, focusing on
  readability rather than style. Avoid jargon and cultural
  slang that can be misinterpreted.
“Banalism” Journalists are poor judges of the banal.
  Rather than say anything is too low-brow, just find an
  appropriate category and let the public judge it.
     And… Just Four Simple Rules

No profanity
No nudity
No personal attacks
No attacks on race, religion, national
 origin, gender or sexual orientation
        The end of “NO”
 “I worked in newspapers for seven years,
  and as an editor most of my dealings with the
  public were about telling people “no” due to
  limited space.
    NO, we can't cover your event.
                                                              Jeremy Littau
    NO, we can't run your youth baseball photo in the        graduate student
      newspaper.
    NO, your story idea isn't good enough for publication.
 “The open source format takes a medium
  with limitless file space and allows us to
  finally say ”YES" to the public.”
Let
them
write
Any
subject.
Everything
is
interesting
to someone
Enlist
“senior”
photogs
Hobbyists are
often looking for a
forum for their
photos
Give them
disposable
cameras

Example:
Camera passed
around at a teen
dance
Go for
the
“gut”
                   QuickTime™ and a
         TIFF (Uncompressed) decompre ssor
            are neede d to see this picture.
          Earth Day:
          Natural news
 Annual festival
  celebrates
  environmental
  awareness
     Provided
    wireless laptops
    so citizens could
    comment on the
    spot
Earth Day: Picture it
      Loaned digital
       cameras to citizens to
       document the festival
     Unexpected reader issues

Political issues are much less popular
 than we predicted.
Religion is far, far more popular than we
 predicted.
Pictures of dogs, cats and even rats
 trump most other copy.
     Unexpected teaching issues

Traditional journalism students want to
 write, not “guide.”
Many were at a loss at how to cover “non
 news” topics like Little League.
Few students are well prepared to work
 with the public.
     Into the future

 More teasers in the morning newspaper
 Increased connection with high school
 journalism classes
Addition of student and citizen blogs
Establish a “Websighted” photo program.
Class in “entrepreneurial journalism”

								
To top