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citizen journalism

ifussss: New Video Sharing App and Newsroom for Journos

If you see something, share something. That’s the motto and logic behind a new video sharing app called ifussss. Say it with me now: EYE- FUSS. 

While Twitter and Facebook already have us all gathering images and looping videos, ifuss is targeted to news organizations. Co-founder Edward Brooks explains:

Right now, it’s a ton of effort. Users are looking for good content, they’re interested in things happening in their area. If you know a story’s already broke, you can go to Facebook or YouTube, but even if you find the content, you don’t know if you can use it, if it’s been used before — the whole process in the middle is difficult. 

The concept is the same as, say, Instagram. You see traffic on a bridge, for example. You shoot and upload it to the ifussss network. It’s automatically geo, time, and hash tagged. News editors can search and monitor the ifussss newsroom platform and, this is where it gets interesting, buy the content. 

They still haven’t worked out the kinks on pricing, but it’s going to be a “very low cost” price, says Brooks. ifussss collects that revenue and pays a percentage to the citizen journalists who took the video in the first place. 

Brooks mentions that a contact of his in a local New York City newsroom says they had five or six people combing through user-generated video after Hurricane Sandy. 

It would make that process much easier. We’re not asking you to change that behavior, but now the archive is there, it’s verified content, and ready to use. 

There’s been much discussion around Twitter’s Vine and Instagram video, but both of the behometh’s continue to tell us that they aren’t a media company. ifussss could fill in that gap. The big question is: will newsrooms pay for user generated video content? Brooks thinks they should. 

“It’s about video with value,” he says. “It’s not just about breaking news. I saw a Lisa Liu filming in Washington Sqaure Park the other day… It’s of no value right now, but when that movie comes out or wins awards, the footage could be of value later. It’s in the archives, tagged, and ready to be used.”
The app is set to release in the store in late August, but they are offering limited pre-release access to the app if you sign up now. I’m curious to know what you all think of the concept, so let me know in the comments or on Twitter.

 

Border or Bust: Investigative Journalists Get Serious With New Media

Social media isn’t just for tweeting fillibusters or tracking fugitives — some outlets use new media as their main reporting strategy and to brand their beats.

This story about journalists reporting on the Mexican drug war shows that social media provides not just a great outlet for curating reports but also a shield from the threats that surround breaking news on dangerous people. Instead of going down the rabbit hole of bloggers versus ‘journalist,’ I find it rather inspiring. In the wake of all of the news surrounding sources, leaks, and the reporters that handle them, it’s been a rather good season for serious, investigative reporting.

Other outlets, like the Center for Investigative Reporting have launched new media campaigns that beg for awarenes concerning issues on the border. They also beg to be shared; Jonah Perretti would be proud. They’ve taken some very serious data and turned it into something that borders on silly — like this video that shows what the amount of marijuana seized on the border looks like and a series that plays on the “Real Actors Read Yelp Reviews” – ”Real Actors Real Yelp Reviews of U.S Border Checkpoints.

It’s takes the phrase “Funny or Die” to a whole new level, considering the severity of life on the border. Apart from their intended purpose, it’s also a good example of the thin line between journalism and marketing. Once you’re entertained, there’s also this interactive map if you want to get serious with the data.

Is there something about the Mexican border beat that breeds ingenuity? Have you seen any other great ways that journalists are using new media?

Knight News Challenge Winners Make Courts, Local Government More Accessible

Anyone who’s ever tried to follow a court case, interpret a legal document or even obtain one in some jurisdictions, knows how difficult it can sometimes be, even for the dogged journalist determined to see what’s in those dockets. Those legalese-filled decisions and depositions are gold mines of information and stories, but they’re often out of reach or understanding of the average person. This week alone the Supreme Court of the United States this week alone handed down major judgments invalidating parts of the Voting Rights Act and bans on gay marriage, to name a few of the decisions released. How many other court cases out there are setting precedents in your state and community? Chances are you don’t know, or even more likely, don’t know how to know. Figuring out what’s on the docket, where things stand and what they mean … well, who has time and the skills for that? Enter Oyez Project. Now, thanks to funding from the Knight Foundation, the group that has long brought clarity to SCOTUS proceedings can take it down a level, so to speak, and expand its interpretations to state supreme courts and federal appellate courts.

Oyez is one of eight projects aimed at opening up government data and resources that received a combined total of $3.2 million in funding in the latest Knight News Challenge contest. While not all of them are, strictly speaking, related to news, they are all related to making government more transparent and easier to understand and work with. That’s the goal most journalists aim to achieve as well. Here’s a brief glimpse of this round’s winners, announced this week:


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Should Gawker Take Down Crack-Smoking Mayor With Public Money?

In Toronto, citizens are wrestling with a difficult scenario: wily, unstable mayor Rob Ford is now implicated in a video that allegedly shows him smoking crack cocaine. But, the video is in possession of a group of Somali men who are involved in the very trade that supplied the crack to Ford, and they’re looking to sell it for six figures.

Determined to gain possession of the tape, Gawker editor John Cook (who flew to Toronto and saw the tape personally) has appealed to the wider audience of the website and asked that those interested in breaking the story with Gawker donate towards a $200,000 fundraising goal to purchase the tape and post it online for everyone. The Indiegogo fundraiser, the pun-laden “Rob Ford Crackstarter,” already has more than $86,000 a week before the goal deadline and includes a $10,000 tier that offers the phone that recorded the video in the first place.

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The Problem With Citizen Journalism

Citizen journalism is a lofty little term thrown around by interweb idealists.* This week, Trevor Knoblich wrote a column on PBS’ MediaShift blog asking “Can Citizen Journalism Move Past Crisis Reporting?”

No, no, it can’t. 

The first lonely comment under the article was from an editor of CNN’s iReport, championing the organization’s efforts to help citizens gather and report stories that are meaningful to them and their community. The idea is a noble one, and it’s executed pretty well. They give tips on good storytelling and provide free music clips you can use with your video. There’s even an Assignment Desk where editors ask for submissions on a given topic (this weekend it’s ‘Show Off Your Mom Tattoos’). 

It’s not that I am against any of the actually very good work iReport can curate. It’s that most of the contributions have the “not vetted” by CNN label which means they’re the equivalent of a YouTube video about your student debt, the plight of tipped workers, or, your mom tattoo.

Remember the editorial pages of your local newspaper? Read more

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