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June 22, 2005

More on the citizen journalism

Like many of us who care about citizen journalism I am also keenly following Dan Gillmor's Bayosphere project.  Pushing trust and seriousness with wiki-type interface it focuses on Bay Area events.  This is a first of it's kind service so it makes sense to take a closer look at their pledge -

  • Fair: I'm always listening to and taking account of other viewpoints;
  • Thorough: I learn as much as I can in the time I have, and point to original sources when possible;
  • Accurate: I get it right, checking my facts, correcting errors promptly and incorporating new information I learn from the community;
  • Open: I explain my biases and conflicts, where appropriate.

Not to sound too cynical here but wondering how different this is from the  mainstream media code of conduct.  Shouldn't citizen journalism include new norms and new expectations. I would expect a more formal way of declaring biases.  Trust is the driving force  for citizen journalism. Without knowing who is behind the voice all the chatter will become just another form of objective spam ! I am sure Bayosphere team will keep evolving this pledge.

Annenberg Foundation  is working constantly to track the developments in this context. Bill Denspore captures all the suggestions made in a recent conference -

-- Create demand for the use of news in schools.
-- Provide "media literacy" training for adults.
-- Study worldwide media systems for ideas.
-- Accept that the current economic model for newspapers has failed.
-- Figure out how to provide non-boring substance.
-- Get corporate media executives involved
-- Better connect scholars with journalism business.
-- Abandon newspaper "core product" in favor of new forms.
-- Compare journalism to other challenged businesses
-- Learn more about readers and audiences
-- Celebrate journalism which works.
-- Regain more public use of telecommunications spectrum.
-- Create an "Associated Press" for ethnic and youth media
-- Become news gatherers, not just creators
-- Consider the "subscriber model" online

Some big changes are happening out there and like any new thing we should work towards new metrics and new processes.  Biases and conflicts are two pillars of journalism - they represent both positives and negatives of the news creation process. We need better tools to track them.

June 22, 2005 in Media | Permalink

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